Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s too hot to eat?” I know I have. I was curious if there was something to the notion that the weather affects how much or how little we eat. Interestingly, studies on cats show that cats do eat more during the colder months of October through February, consuming 15 percent less in July compared to December. The theory here is that lower temperatures require more energy to maintain body heat, but also that animals slow their activity in the summer due to the heat.
But what about humans? Do we change our eating habits in summer? An NPR article from a few years ago says that experts hypothesize that the same biology that impacts animals around eating in the summer may likewise impact humans. When shorter days and cooler weather kick in, we humans start eating more. A 1991 study from the University of Georgia confirmed that, finding that study participants consumed about 200 calories per day more when the shorter days of fall kicked in.
One article in Women’s Health magazine actually suggest tapping into this phenomenon to lose excess weight more easily in the summer. Not only does your appetite decrease, but we humans often take advantage of the longer, warmer days to increase activity. Fewer calories consumed plus more calories burned provides the ideal equation for weight loss.
In fact, many people make a New Year’s resolution to not only lose weight, but to improve their health overall. (See my post about it from this past January.) Rather than making that resolution in the dead of winter, I think it makes a lot more sense to make it in the summer. Think of it: the majority of fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready for eating during the summer, so you can easily load up on the vitamins and minerals they provide. Exercising is likely more attractive, as opportunities for where you exercise expand more into the outdoors. And if you are trying to lose weight as part of improving your health, you can tap into that natural reduction in desire for calories that occurs during the hotter summer months.
Have you made a renewed effort to improve your health this summer? Does it involve healthier eating, more exercise, or perhaps just taking more quality time for yourself? Let me and other readers know. In the meantime, enjoy my Quick Summer Salad, which features watermelon and blueberries, two delicious fruits that are at the peak of their ripeness right now. You’ll get hydrated from the watermelon while receiving a solid dose of antioxidants from the blueberries.
Here’s to a healthy and happy summer you!