London: Give a second thought the next time you gorge on junk food, for a new study says that just a short period of binge eating could alter your ability to stay slim for years.
Researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden have carried out the study and found just a month worth of binge eating has a more permanent effects on body size and the way it stores fat -- even after the initial weight is lost.
The gluttony changes fat mass -- the percentage of fat in the body -- for more than two years making it harder to keep weight off, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
For their study, the researchers asked 18 individuals to stop exercising and eat excessively for some four weeks -- increasing their energy intake by an average of 70 per cent.
A separate control group ate and exercised as normal. The binge eating group gained an average of one stone in body weight, which was mostly lost six months later. But, one year on this group showed an increased fat mass compared to those who ate and exercised normally, the differences were even greater after two and a half years.
The study published in the `Nutrition and Metabolism` concluded that it provides evidence that even a short period of excessive eating and a lack of exercise can potentially change an individual`s physiology, causing it to be harder to lose and keep off weight.