photo of Christmas pudding on a table with holly on top

Loughborough experts discuss all things Christmas food

As the holidays are fast approaching, the excitement for Christmas dinner grows. However, have you ever wondered what hides beyond the festive food coma?

Our academics are sharing their research on some aspects of Christmas food that many of us may be curious about.

Can athletes enjoy a big Christmas dinner without repercussions? How does alcohol affect your sleeping patterns around the holidays? Loughborough Experts are here to answer these questions.

How 'Alcoholidays' can affect your sleep

Professor Kevin Morgan: “These recreational events, these ‘Alcoholidays’ that occur several times – there’s Easter and Christmas – they will know that this is that period of the year when things seem to work quite well for everyone else, but hammer their sleep.” 

What's the perfect Christmas dinner for elite athletes?

Dr Stephen Mears: “I think for athletes, a single day of overindulgence isn’t going to harm too much, [but] several days of it will cause an increase in energy intake and, if that greatly exceeds energy expenditure – through training, through exercise, through day to day activities, then yes, there will be slight weight gain, which is obviously, for most sports, going to be quite detrimental to performance.”

And, as a treat, here is a historic recipe to help your recovery, in case the festive food coma hit you hard:

17th century recipe for the festive food coma

Dr Sara Read: “We’ve come here today […] to have a go at making a ‘surfeit water’, which is a 17th century cure which might be useful for people at this time of year. It’s a remedy with a brandy base and lots of herbs and spices to aid digestion, which people used if they were suffering from bloating and other uncomfortable feelings after overindulging in their Christmas festivities.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 22/239

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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