As South Africa heads toward its winter months, many are gearing up for the hunger and food cravings that occur as the days turn colder. As temperatures fall, our appetite begins to spiral out of control – but why is it that we are hungrier in winter?
The real reason why you’re hungrier in winter
Studies have shown that as outdoor temperatures drop, the body temperature drops. This is what actually sets up a longing for foods that will warm you the quickest. Shivering triggers a self-preservation mode that sends our body a message to heat up fast. Although all food, including fruits and vegetables, will help create the extra heat we crave, for most it’s the traditional comfort foods that we turn to when it gets colder.
“In winter we are likely to drink more hot beverages. If using more than a teaspoon of sugar, this could be problematic for weight management. Couple this with a biscuit or two and this can drastically increase your normal energy intake,” says Kwa Zulu Natal-based registered dietician Kelly Francis.
While for some it’s falling temperatures that sets appetites in motion, for others, it’s the decrease in sunlight and an onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). A type of depression caused by a decrease in light exposure. Predominantly, it occurs in winter but disappears as the days get longer in spring and summer. Those who suffer from SAD seek quick sources of serotonin which come from carb-heavy meals.
“High fibre carbohydrate breakfast choices, with the addition of protein rich dairy provide sustained energy, naturally stabilizing blood glucose levels and the appetite,” Francis added.
Although our appetites are set to increase this winter, for many children in South Africa, hunger is a reality they face every day, every season. Today almost one in five children in South Africa goes to school without breakfast, which has a direct impact on their growth and development. Winter temperatures also further increase children’s ability to fight off illness, meaning more learners are sick and missing school in the winter months.
Here’s how Kellogg’s SA is making a difference
Kellogg’s South Africa aims to combat this issue with its Breakfasts for Better Days initiative. As winter arrives, Kellogg’s SA is continuing to spread the importance message of staying healthy. By providing children across the country with a balanced breakfast, giving them the vital fuel they need to learn effectively.
Since the programme’s launch in 2014, over 13 million breakfasts have been served up, with 25 000 children getting a balanced breakfast every school day in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. The breakfast offerings include Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Instant Porridge, which provides energy and warmth during the winter.
“Although the colder mornings may be a struggle, it is important that growing children fuel their days the right way. Our hunger increases in winter because we associate warmth with comfort and for many, sunlight with overall happiness. We must make the time to sit down and have a warm, carbohydrate-rich breakfast, which will help us to feel fuller for longer and give us the energy we need to make the most of every day,” Kelly concludes.
To learn more about Kellogg, visit the website: www.bfbd.co.za.
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