Is it Good to Have Diet Cheat Days?
Being on a diet and counting calories can be really hard work. A recent study has relieved that having cheat days may actually speed up your weight loss!
In this study a group of mice where placed on a calories restrictive diet and split into two groups. Group 1 was on the diet for the whole 12 weeks. Group 2 was on the diet for six days at a time and then followed up by up to three days or unrestricted eating (in other words, three "cheat" days). This unrestricted eating still had to be healthy foods. The results of this study showed that group 2, who had cheat days, had faster weight loss!
The researchers said that they are expecting similar results if the study was don't with humans. In fact, having a few days "off" from your diet can help to keep your body from entering starvation mode. Starvation mode is a natural process in where the body slows down it's calorie burning to survive what it believes to be a famine.
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One key factor to take away from this is that what you eat on your cheat days still needs to be healthy! You can't just take a break and eat junk foods.
Cheat Day Balance
The key is to eat healthy on your cheat days and to have the correct amount of cheat days in relation to your overall diet. So how do we create this balance? The 5:2 approach has been gaining popularity. This means 5 days on a diet and 2 days off. Most people find it easier to stay on a diet during the weekday and then take the weekend off.
You really should not have more than three cheat days in a row. On the days that you restrict you eating you should't lower your calorie intake to more than 1,200 calories a day. Going further than this puts you at a greater risk of having your body enter starvation mode.
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