Extra winter weight? Here’s why

Due to lower levels of serotonin during winter months, people sometimes turn to carbohydrates likes starchy foods to make up the difference. (Thinkstock)

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Have you packed on some pounds, this winter? There may be some science you can blame it on.

TheWeek.com reports brains produce the lowest levels of serotonin during the winter months.

It points to research in Psychology Today which shows more serotonin is produced when it’s sunny compared to darker days. Due to lacking that particular brain chemical, Psychology Today says people sometimes turn to carbohydrates like sugary and starchy foods, which can cause weight gain.

TheWeek also says the lack of sunlight can also make people feel sluggish and lazy due to their bodies producing more of a hormone called melatonin.

Chris Gayomali, who covers science and technology for TheWeek.com, writes, “Some experts think melatonin also plays a role in increasing our appetites, which, when paired with winter’s cozy allure of a sedentary lifestyle, can cause the pounds to pack on.”

However, research also shows that aerobic exercise in itself can boost serotonin levels, so a jog or a kick-boxing class could replace that donut you’re eyeing.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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