Why do we eat more in winter?

eat more in winter

eat more in winter

Have you noticed that in winter the appetite for food and especially for junk food and desserts increases? Do you also put on weight over the winter months?

Well, there is a reason why in summer you can live off fresh salads, whereas in winter you crave chocolate, pasta and burgers.

Why does this happen?

In winter it gets dark very early and there is generally not enough light due to the bad weather. Light is necessary for the production of serotonin and melatonin in the body. Serotonin is the hormone of happiness. It has an antidepressant effect and regulates appetite as well as mood.

Melatonin does exactly the opposite. It causes sleep and relaxes the body. But what determines the quantity of these substances produced by our bodies?

The sunlight of course. It reduces the production of melatonin and increases serotonin production. And due to the fact that serotonin decreases appetite, the lack of sunlight increases our appetite.

What are the benefits of sunlight?

Sunlight: a) increases serotonin, b) helps in the production of vitamin D.

Vitamin D strengthens the immune system and bone health and decreases depression. Sunlight helps in the production of this vitamin, so in summer our mood improves. In Nordic countries, where sunlight is scarce, residents often take vitamin D supplements to cover any nutritional deficiencies.

Why do we crave fat and sugar?

The ideal would be to satisfy our hanger during the winter months by eating healthy foods like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and pulses, but unfortunately we love to eat pasta, cakes, butter and sweets, which contain a lot of sugar. The common feature of these options is sugar. When we eat sugar, serotonin increases and therefore, our mood improves.

In winter, we eat more due to fatigue

There is yet another reason why we make unhealthy food choices during the winter months. Winter tires our body as the levels of melatonin increase. Consequently, we feel more tired and eat more to make up for the missing energy. Women exhibit more frequently such tendencies because of hormonal changes as serotonin level is lower during these days.

How to increase serotonin?

You need to change some of your eating or body habits.

– Eat foods such as chicken, yoghurt, eggs and cheese, which are rich in tryptophan. In addition, you should eat olive oil, nuts, salmon and sardines.

– Get out of your house. Winter doesn’t have to mean staying home. There are plenty of places to spend the winter, even if it’s very cold.

– Integrate exercise into your daily routine. Running a little every day is enough to improve your mood and control your appetite for junk food.

– Visit a dietician. Experts always know what is best for your body and how to make you feel full without eating too much. Your diet needs to be individualized in order to be effective and meet your needs.

Visit a dietician today!