Get ready to feel the excitement about a scientific study that your biology professor always hoped you would: A group of researchers just discovered that cheat days aren’t actually as bad for you as you think. They might even be the key to losing more weight.
If the science still seems a little too good to be true, let us break it down for you. Professors in Australia gathered a group of 51 obese men and put them all on a diet, restricting their caloric intake by one-third. Some of the participants were instructed to follow the diet for 16 weeks, while the others were told to alternate for the same duration of time: Stick to it for two weeks, then have two cheat weeks, and on again, and off again. The men who fell of the wagon for 14 days at a time ended up losing more weight and fat.
The suspected reason for the extra weight loss was that those bodies had a chance to rest. That is, they didn’t have to keep working on overdrive to burn stored calories, so losing weight during what the scientists called their intermittent energy restriction periods became easier.
Doubters have found flaws in the study, like the fact that it was only men and that they didn’t cheat all that badly. They simply ate enough calories to maintain their weight rather than continue trying to lose it. Nevertheless, we’re going to take this is a win for now — and eat that cupcake tonight to celebrate.