100 Days To Christmas – How One Mince Pie A Day Could Make You Stack On Unwanted Kilos


Christmas is already in full swing in supermarket aisles and catalogues prompting a plea from LiveLighter® for Western Australians to ensure their festive ‘treats’ don’t become an everyday habit.

“Seasonal treats are great way to celebrate seasonal events,” LiveLighter® Nutritionist Jen Atkins said, “but Christmas is more than 100 days away.

“With mince pies, plum puddings and jumbo-sized Christmas branded chocolates hitting our shelves well in advance of December 25, a small treat can quickly develop into a daily habit. This habit can then lead to weight gain and a whole range of weight-related diseases.”

Supermarket mince pies are loaded with sugar and kilojoules but contain few of the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

“People might also think they are doing the right things by eating fruit but, make no mistake – the high amount of sugar far outweighs any nutrition you would get from the dried fruit content.”

LiveLighter® calculated the amount of sugar consumed by eating just one mince pie a day. With six teaspoons of sugar (24g) in each mince pie, just one a day from tomorrow until Christmas Day would add a whopping 2.4 kilos of sugar to your diet.

This high intake or sugar combined with the rest of the ingredients in just one mince pie, could result in a shocking weight gain of 2.8 kilos.

World Health Organization guidelines recommend no more than seven teaspoons of sugar per day.

Consuming too much sugar is known to contribute to weight gain and being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and non-alcohol fatty liver disease.

“Keep track of temptation – having a festive treat at work with your cup of tea all adds up. It’s really important to treat our treats as treats – which means keeping them for a special occasion rather than a daily occurrence," Ms Atkins said.

Mince pies are a traditional way to celebrate Christmas but there are many healthy alternatives to snacking on empty calories during the lead up.

“I get badgered by my 9-year old daughter for Christmas treats like gingermen cookies, as any parent does. Instead I ask her to choose a special fruit to add to our weekly shop and this helps her build a healthy habit of snacking. Strawberries are the go at the moment – they are in season at the moment, which means they are at peak flavour and also half the price.

“Eating a treat regularly over three months can lead to unhealthy habits. Save the mince pies and Christmas chocolates until at least Christmas Eve,” Ms Atkins said.

LiveLighter®’s Christmas treat alternatives Looking for an indulgent yet healthy snack? Choose a nutritious base, with a little flourish of chocolate – a little goes a long way:

  • Fruit dipped in dark chocolate (strawberries and banana slices are always a winner!)
  • Chocolate drizzled popcorn or roasted nuts
  • Banana muffins with some dark chocolate chips
  • Trail mix that includes some chocolate covered dried fruit or nuts
  • Homemade chocolate milk powder (milk powder + cocoa + cinnamon)

If you’re on the hunt for a healthier Christmas, LiveLighter® recommends getting active and remembering to include fruit and vegies into your feasts. For healthy Christmas ideas, head to: www.livelighter.com.au.

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*Data is from FoodWorks, which uses the AusFoods 2017 ad AusBrands 2017 databases.
*Weight gain of 2.8kg is based on the consumption of one mince pie a day in addition to the food your body needs without increasing physical activity to work off the extra calories.
*This Sunday, September 16 marks 100 days to Christmas
1. http://www.opc.org.au/downloads/overbranded/overbranded-underprotected.pdf

Spokespeople available to interview:
Cancer Council WA’s LiveLighter Nutritionist: Jen Atkins

For further information please contact:
Jo Campbell M: 0411 593 772 E: jcampbell@cancerwa.asn.au

About LiveLighter
LiveLighter is a public health education campaign which encourages West Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active. Delivered by Cancer Council WA, the LiveLighter campaign is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more information visit www.livelighter.com.au.