Christmas is about three things: presents, family, and food. Eating with family after opening gifts is basically a national sport this time of year, and so with the country soon to be full to the brim with turkey, Brussels spouts, and gravy, a new survey has revealed that people in the North West are set to consume 165% of their normal calorie intake on Christmas Day.
With the average person's food marathon starting at 9:39am on the 25th, it is little surprise that the study by breakdown cover provider Green Flag showed that 86% of people in the North West suffered from a ‘food coma’ leading to 87% admitting they had a festive food lag causing them to slow down when driving.
Despite the face that snacking and picking at cold pigs in blankets may continue on to 6:25pm on average, some 53% of North Westerners are still eating away beyond 9pm, chomping their away through 3421 calories on Christmas Day compared to 2075 calories on a normal day.
“People reporting desperate tiredness after their Christmas dinner isn't surprising considering the amount of carbohydrates we'll consume on Christmas Day," said Jenny Tschiesche, Nutritionist and BSc (Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT. "Similarly, the sluggishness people experience is caused because there's a high salt content in our festive treats, and this makes our bodies retain water.
“People must take care after consuming stodgy foods this Christmas, and there are some simple safety measures you can take on Christmas Day if you find yourself needing to drive," Jenny added. "Just making sure you have enough water throughout the day will keep you hydrated and banish the sluggishness. Favouring non-starchy vegetables on your dinner plate is also going to help keep your energy levels up, in other words, eat your sprouts!
“The most dangerous time to drive is three hours after eating. That's because most of us have a metabolic rate of about three hours, so this is the point where we will feel the most tired. The optimum time to wait after your Christmas dinner before driving is about five hours, when our bodies have digested the majority of the festive food."
Travelling home for Christmas is almost as quintessential as food and family, with people from North West covering an average of 41.2 miles by car making the fact that 71% of drivers say they feel sluggish, 37% saying they can't stop themselves falling asleep, and 24% admitting to having slower reaction times slightly worrying.
Although the vast majority of drivers reported symptoms of tiredness, slow reactions, sluggishness, and not feeling alert after eating heavily, just 17% of drivers think that it’s dangerous to drive when experiencing a ‘food coma’ and less than a quarter would rather walk than drive when experiencing these symptoms.
“As families and friends gather to celebrate the Christmas festivities, undoubtedly, food will be a central feature of the merriment," said Candace Gerlach, head of marketing at Green Flag. "While drivers are well-informed of the dangers and effects of driving after consuming alcohol, this isn’t the case when it comes to over-eating.
"Just a fraction of Brits are aware of the effects that overeating can have on driving; we’re urging people to be conscious of their consumption and how it impacts their bodies," Candace added.