London, 18th December 2018 – With the festive season in full swing, there’s no question that we’re all guilty of a little extra indulgence throughout December… but how much really is “a little extra”? According to new survey results from 23andMe, our diets during December surge and we consume an extra 21,337 calories – the equivalent of 267 pigs in a blanket, 98 mince pies or 6.5 tubs of Celebrations*.
The leading consumer genetics company revealed that men will eat an average of 23,100 calories more, while women will consume an extra 19,575 calories – and it’s all thanks to the array of treats on offer to us throughout December. Brits say that chocolate selection boxes (47 per cent), mince pies (30 per cent) and festive desserts such as chocolate yule logs (28 per cent) are among the top foodie culprits for our extra indulgence. When it comes to our favourite tipples, beer and lager (21 per cent), wine (16 per cent) and prosecco (13 per cent) all top the list of drinks we enjoy in December.
Interestingly 23andMe’s data shows that there’s a big difference in taste preferences between the genders – women are 3.5 times more likely to prefer sweet over salty foods based on their genetics (28 per cent for women vs. just eight per cent for men). This is reflected in their treats of choice – women are more likely to dip into the chocolate box (51 per cent vs. 43 per cent) and the festive desserts (31 per cent vs. 25 per cent), while men admit to favouring the Christmas meats (29 per cent vs. 21 per cent) and pigs in blankets (20 per cent vs. 16 per cent).
While we’re happy to enjoy ourselves in the run up to Christmas, the data from 23andMe also revealed that some Brits need to be a little more careful in their festive indulgence as genetically, 22 per cent are likely to be lactose intolerant. However, the new survey results showed that while 27 per cent of Brits say they are on a regular diet throughout the year, 73 per cent admit to breaking it in December. The top diet breakers include vegans (77 per cent)**, and those on wheat-free (74 per cent)**, dairy-free (69 per cent) and gluten-free (62 per cent) diets.
A majority of Brits justify their lack of self-control in December because it’s the best time to go out and celebrate (53 per cent), while 28 per cent say they indulge more because they feel pressured by social commitments. More than a third (37 per cent) blame going out with friends for the overload, while 42 per cent say it’s down to family commitments. However, 31 per cent are happy to eat what they want in December as they know they’ll detox in the New Year.
Alice Mackintosh, nutritionist and author of The Happy Kitchen, said: “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bit more of what you fancy during Christmas-time, but we should be cautious about the impacts of going overboard, not just for our waistlines but also for our overall well-being. Overeating foods rich in sugar, salt, trans-fats and refined carbohydrates can lead to low energy, poor sleep patterns, reduced immunity, imbalanced hormones and bad skin whilst also contributing to nutrient deficiencies.
“Women who crave sugar should consider that hormonal changes, poor sleep cycles and low energy may aggravate this and that eating a balanced, protein rich diet can help reduce these symptoms. Understanding what works for you and taking some simple steps to ensure a healthy balanced diet doesn’t completely fall by the wayside is a good way to stay feeling your best throughout the festive season.”
Jhulianna Cintron, genetics trends expert at 23andMe said: “December provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy yourself, celebrate with family and friends and indulge in your favourite treats. But what many don’t realise is that your genetics can play a part in your food preferences and also how you process it – from whether you would choose sweet or salty flavours, based on your genetics, to your ability to process saturated fats and lactose.”