Are Cheat Meals Good? Researchers Say It Could Lead To This Health Problem

Are Cheat Meals Good? Researchers Say It Could Lead To This Health Problem
Are Cheat Meals Really For Fun? Researchers Say It Could Lead To This Health Problem

Cheat meals can be fun when they don't lead to any health problems. But a new study has found that cheat meals can, in fact, lead to health issues.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : August 18, 2022 7:52 PM IST

From giant cheeseburgers to delicious cheesecake, cheat days call for every craving you have had on the other days of eating healthy. But is it good for you? Should you do "cheat days" too? Unsurprisingly, opinions among professionals in the field of weight management are divided about the idea of following a strict diet every day but one of the weeks while indulging in anything you want on the other days. Some people view them as essential a brief reprieve from constantly adhering to a regimented eating plan. Others believe they could be disastrous for your body, your exercise objectives, and weight loss.

While some think of cheat meals as a good idea, one study implies that cheat meals can lead to eating disorders. Here's what you need to know.

Cheat Meals May Trigger Eating Disorders

Cheat meals is the practice of eating one calorie-dense meal that is not allowed in one's regular diet before going back to the previous schedule and routine later. A study published in the journal Eating Disorders found that cheat meals may have an impact on the emergence of eating disorders. It can especially be triggered in people who spend too much of their time on social media. About half of the participants in a study over a year, including women, men, and transgender people, admitted to having at least one cheat meal while on a diet.

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The study team discovered that a variety of eating disorder behaviours, including binge eating and obsessive exercise, were linked to having cheat meals during the preceding year. Additionally, it was linked to overeating and binge-eating among gender nonconforming men and women. Even while calorie-dense foods made up the bulk of cheat meals, men and women consumed different kinds of meals, and these variations were substantial. Men, for example, said they consumed more protein and dairy, whereas women said they were more inclined to eat sweet and salty snacks.

Even though cheat meals are widespread among young people and teenagers, the researchers pointed out that the behaviours are also widely used on social media. However, more research is required to fully comprehend the potential impact of cheat meals on public health.

The Right Way To Approach A Cheat Day

The right way to approach a cheat day is by knowing yourself and what you like to eat. Determine your own sustainability. Occasionally indulging in smaller portions of your favourite foods can be maintained over the long term in some people than the one-day binge, even though it can be beneficial for some. By doing this, you may reward yourself occasionally each week rather than setting aside a whole day to indulge in unhealthy meals.