CHEAT MEALS – Why it’s Important to Have Them in Your Diet
You may be wondering why I am about to tell you that cheat meals are important when dieting when everyone is trying to ‘get fit in the new year’, well here’s why having a small treat on a chosen day is perfectly ok.
It all begins with a protein that is produced in your body called Leptin and this is made by fat tissues which regulate your body weight and fat mass by balancing the body’s energy levels and controlling your appetite.
A cheat meal will therefore help your body to keep its energy levels balanced. Now, don’t get me wrong, eating healthy is how you maintain a healthy lifestyle and reach your health goals such as weight loss, however, having one meal a week that is not part of your diet will not ruin your efforts.
It’s a cheat meal, not a cheat day, many people get this mixed up. A cheat meal will make your diet last longer as you won’t get the cravings and you will have a day to look forward to. It is a good way to keep motivated.
Now for the scientific part:
Our appetite is controlled by two hormones called Ghrelin and leptin (as mentioned in the beginning of this article). They play a huge role in how we feel, for example, if we’re feeling hungry or full.
When fasting for 24-72 hours our Leptin and Ghrelin levels change. Calorie restricted diets will cause our Leptin levels to fall and our Ghrelin levels to rise. By increasing calorie intake temporarily when having a cheat meal, our bodies can balance the hormones in our body.
In my next article we will be finding out about alternative healthy foods to keep the cravings away!