Heart Health: How to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays
It’s that wonderful time of year when comfort foods flood our fridges, break rooms, and dinner tables. But for people at risk of heart disease, holiday binge eating can have serious consequences. Find out how to curb impulses.
By Michelle Seitzer
Medically Reviewed by Michael Cutler, DO, PhD
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurHeart HealthNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
The holiday halls may be decked with delicious foods, but give your heart the gift of pacing yourself this season. Research shows that overeating can cause gastric distress in the short term and over time can lead to unhealthy weight gain and obesity — risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
If you have high cholesterol or other heart-health risk factors, overeating can give you more than just heartburn — it can actually lead to a heart attack. In fact, a study published in October 2019 in the journalClinical Research in Cardiology revealed a holiday season peak in cardiac-related hospital admissions, with overeating cited as a key trigger.
“Binge eating puts stress on the body,” explains Amnon Beniaminovitz, MD, a cardiologist with Manhattan Cardiology in New York City. Much like emotional outbursts, running fast, or shoveling snow, overeating makes extra work for the heart, Beniaminovitz says.
A large meal can also trigger the release of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that can raise blood pressure and heart rate, say the experts at Berkeley Wellness.
A large meal, especially one full of fat and refined carbs, can also raise the levels of triglycerides in your blood, and those levels can remain elevated for anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, the Berkeley Wellness team suggests. Add in alcohol and those triglyceride levels can hit truly dangerous highs.
The Long-Term Consequences of Overeating
If the risk of heart attack isn’t enough to give you pause, think about your future health before you load that plate with a second or third helping. A study published online in November 2019 in the journal Nature Geneticsdemonstrated a strong link between insulin resistance — a major risk factor for heart attacks and type 2 diabetes, and a key consequence of obesity — and the failure to safely store excess fat in the body.
“Overeating can lead to being overweight, which is linked to diabetes,” says Sonia Tolani, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and part of Columbia’s Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health. “And diabetes is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart diseases, tripling the risk of heart disease in women and doubling the risk in men.”
Besides diabetes, weight gain can also lead to sleep apnea, says Michael R. Bauer, MD, cardiologist with Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
10 Tips to Avoid Overeating This Holiday Season
Regardless of the short- or long-term health risks, avoiding overeating is easier said than done — especially when food is the center of so many holiday traditions. Consider these cardiologist-approved tips to make this holiday a heart-healthy one:
1. Stick to a routine. Dr. Beniaminovitz believes having a strict diet and exercise regimen — eating the same meals at the same time each day, and not deviating too much from that routine — is the best way to avoid holiday gluttony. It’s also a great tip for maintaining a heart-healthy diet all year round.
2. Avoid foods with saturated fat. High fat foods and rich foods with dairy, like dips, should also be avoided, recommends Dr. Tolani.
3. Do portion control. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate to manage portion sizes, Solani suggests.
4. Drink water in between bites. “This reminds you to slow down while you're eating so you can recognize when you're full,” says Tolani.
5. Don’t eat late at night. Try to avoid eating after 8 p.m., Dr. Bauer advises.
6. Limit alcohol and sweets.Keep those sweet pieces of pie and cocktails to a minimum, Bauer says.
7. Keep a food diary.Keeping track of what you eat is an effective way to curb binge eating episodes, suggests an on using mindfulness to stop overeating, written by Brian Wansink, PhD, professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and author of the best-selling bookMindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
8. Go slow.Chew slowly so you can savor each bite, and put your fork down in between bites, says Dr. Wansink. This allows your brain time to send the “satisfied” signal, instead of pushing to the point of “stuffed.”
9. Use tech.Calorie counting apps, food trackers, and heart-health monitoring apps can be helpful year round as a digital accountability partner. Check out the Tolani created.
10. Move the food when the meal is done.Wansink suggests an “out of sight, out of mind” tactic for huge holiday meals: Once firsts have been served, send the serving platters, bowls, and dishes back to the kitchen.
Video: Healthy Eating Tips : How to Avoid Over Eating
Mike Pences chief of staff wants to purge anti-Trump Republicans
Lanvin Pre-Fall 2019 Collection
Mara Hoffman FallWinter 2019RTW – NYFW
How to Breed Lovebirds
Chicken Caesar Salad with Garlicky Croutons
Volcano Lava Rock and Silver Bead Mens Bracelets
Kylie Jenner says she still feels like an outcast
Fashion News: Eva Herzigova, Elle UK More
The 17 Best and Worst Dressed Celebs at the 2019 Emmys
How to Diagnose Cushings Disease in Horses
12 borse a tracolla per linverno 2019 da amare allistante, le indossi sempre e non sbagli mai