7 Holiday Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

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7 Holiday Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think - Consumer Reports

Fill your plate with these party staples to protect your waistline and more

T his time of year, health-conscious diners face a challenge: how to navigate creamy soups, rich meats, pies with delicious flaky crusts, and other fatty, salty, and sugary foods while enjoying the flavors of the season. “The holidays really can have adverse health effects beyond just weight gain,” says Jamie Cooper, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia.

For example, in a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Cooper and her colleagues found that in addition to gaining about two pounds, on average, during the holidays, people experienced increases in body fat, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. And being active didn’t protect against those changes. “Even small increases in diastolic and systolic blood pressure can have a meaningful impact on health,” Cooper says.

As for the extra weight, evidence suggests it sticks around. “Once you put it on,” Cooper says, “it’s hard to lose it.”
 
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