010 For the Love of Thanksgiving – For the Love of Data

Holiday Weight Gain Studies

Studies are very mixed on whether holiday eating causes weight gain.

The Good1

  • In several studies over the last thirty-one years, subjects gained approximately 3/4 to 2 lbs. during the holiday season
  • However, in one study participants felt they had gained 4x as much weight as they actually gained
  • Two other key finding:
    • Although the amount of weight gained between the holidays was small, it represented the majority of the weight gained for the year
    • Weight gained between the holidays typically is not lost the next year (it represents the annual amount of increase for many people).

The Bad3

  • During “eating holidays”, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, participants consumed 14% more than on normal days
  • Some participants (outliers perhaps?) consumed over 900 calories more on special occasions than normal days
  • Obese individuals indulged at an even higher level during holidays


  • Children tend to gain more weight over the summer when school is out than during the holidays2

Theme music for this month’s episode is “Turkey Time” by Monk Turner4.


  1. http://letstalknutrition.com/holiday-weight-gain-separating-fact-from-fiction/
  2. http://www.hit107.com/news/feed/2016/11/study-reveals-the-time-of-year-child-obesity-rates-rise-the-most/
  3. http://acsh.org/news/2015/11/24/does-holiday-feasting-affect-obesity-rates
  4. http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Monk_Turner/Calendar/Monk_Turner_-_Calendar_-_11_Turkey_Time

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