Guess How Much Weight an Average Person Gains Over the Holidays (Hint: It's Less Than You Think)

Excuse us while we make a donut run.

The holiday season is officially here. Nope, not yet, you say? As far as we're concerned, the holiday season begins as soon as we start "testing" out all the candy we can get our hands on, to figure out the most scrumptious treats to stock up on for Halloween. It's a selfless act. 

But those dutiful holiday eating binges might be costing us, according to a new report—which offers up what some might call a blindingly obvious observation that people do in fact gain a little weight over the holidays.

"In these three prosperous countries, weight gain occurs during national holidays," writes Elina E. Helander, Ph.D., of the Tampere University of Technology in Finland, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Helander and her research team looked at nearly 3000 people in the U.S., Germany and Japan and calculated how many pounds the average person packs on during the holiday season. The bad news? It's not zero pounds. In the U.S., people again an average of 1.3 pounds during the holidays, according to the study.

What to do about it? "Advising a patient to have better self-control over the holidays is one approach," writes Helander. But she adds, "it might be better to advise patients that although up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, half the weight gain appears to remain until the summer months or beyond." 

The good news? It's only 1.3 pounds! Just over measly pound, on average. As one mathemetician, Diana Thomas of the United States Military Academy, calculated for NPR's The Salt, that weight gain means "for Americans, it's two extra donuts per day."

It's worth noting that the study only looked at major food holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and ignored Halloween. 

Still: Off we go, to eat all the treats in sight. Thanks, science!


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