For some dieters, the weekend is their biggest hurdle. Often, dieters give into their temptations, conveniently considering Saturday or Sunday a “cheat day,” and devour delicious, high-calorie foods on the weekends to satisfy their cravings. Slimmers are typically found binge eating foods that total up to 10,000 calories on a weekend, more than half their weekly caloric intake, according to a new survey.
The poll, conducted by Forza Supplements, a UK diet firm that specializes in selling fat-burning supplements, found that 75 percent of dieters end up having major lapses when it comes to eating healthy between Friday night and Sunday. Friday night post-work drinks were found to be the kickoff to the massive calorie binge in dieters that leads to a downward spiral all throughout the weekend. Seven in 10 survey respondents admitted to having fattening foods, the most popular being pizza. The majority of those polled reported drinking more between Friday and Sunday than on Monday to Thursday.
Fifty-seven percent of men were found to regularly consume 10,000 calories on a weekend — 3,500 calories each on Friday and Saturday, and 3,000 calories on Sunday.
The American Heart Association recommends men between the ages of 19 and 30, who are sedentary, to limit their daily caloric intake to 2,400 calories. Men who are moderately active in this age range can eat anywhere between 2,600 and 2,000 calories each day. The rule of thumb for sedentary men is that daily caloric intake should decrease as they age, but they should still take into account their activity level.
Nearly half of the women polled were found to regularly consume 8,000 calories on a weekend. On a Friday night, women consumed 2,500 calories, 3,500 on Saturday, and 2,000 calories on a Sunday. For women, the lower calorie consumption on Sunday often stemmed from their guilt over their consumption on the previous two days. Men did not show such guilt, and instead went on a third day of binge eating.
The average sedentary women between the ages of 19 and 30 should typically consume around 2,000 calories a day, according to the American Heart Association. Women in the same age group who are moderately active can consume between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day. However, women ages 31 through 50 should consume about 200 fewer calories per day. Those that are over 50 are recommended to subtract 400 calories from the previous totals.
The survey found that family and friends are some of the main culprits behind binge eating over the weekend. Survey respondents admitted they will often spend their Saturday night in front of the TV with their families, watching their favorite shows while they snack. Seventy percent of those polled said they also like to enjoy a big meal with their family or friends, with one-third reporting to have seconds.
Forza Supplements found that a daily work routine is what helped keep dieters in check from Monday to Thursday. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they found it easier to stick with their recommended daily calorie intake during their work days because they saw themselves as having more discipline and less distractions. From Friday to Sunday, however, it’s a different story.
“We all have bad weekends where we have a lot fun but dieting goes out of the window,” said a Forza spokesman, the Daily Mail reports.
“The 5:2 diet is becoming increasingly popular.” The spokesman believes this diet can cause slimmers to binge eat during the weekend when they choose to shamelessly indulge in a few sweet treats.
The 5:2 diet is based on the idea of intermittent fasting, where dieters eat normally at certain times and then fast during other times, according to the National Health Service in the UK. The diet is pretty straightforward — slimmers eat normally five days a week, and fast on the other two days. However, there are different versions of the diet fad.
Followers of the diet fad are at risk for overeating the rest of the week because they drastically cut their calorie intake for two days, during which the body won’t meet its nutritional requirements. While fasting allows the digestive system to rest, it does not help with a significant amount of weight loss for the long haul.
“In terms of regulating our internal metabolism, our bodies are much smarter than we think. When all of a sudden, you reduce your calorie intake by one fourth of your daily consumption, your internal system sets off an alarm and your body will adjust its energy expenditure on fasting days and normal days,” said Dr. Nupur Krishnan, nutrition expert, to the Times of India.
To learn how you can practice healthy eating habits on the weekends, visit Health.com.