Illnesses that appear after family meals at Christmas!

Verified on 05/12/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
Les maladies qui apparaissent après les repas de famille à Noël !

The many hearty, fatty meals served every year during the festive season lead to an increase in certain illnesses. Here’s how!

Many illnesses can be triggered by holiday meals…

According to Véronique Liesse, dietician-nutritionist, festive meals at the end of the year lead to bad cholesterol, indigestion, high blood pressure and sleep disorders.

« In fact, whether it’s diabetes, hypertensionor dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), these pathologies tend to worsen over the Christmas period, » she points out.

A heart attack on Christmas Eve?

According to a Danish study by Swedeheart published in the British Medical Journal, the risk of having a heart attack rises sharply on Christmas Eve, peaking at 37% above normal around 10pm.

More generally, heart attacks are up 15%. The probability of dying from a heart attack rises by 20% on January 1!

An increase in bad cholesterol

During the festive season, bad cholesterol levels rise by up to 6 times more than during the rest of the year, according to the Danish study.

This is partly due to overeating and drinking during meals .

According to the researchers:  » It’s all high-glycemic foods that raise bad cholesterol levels « , such as aperitif cakes, charcuterie, foie gras, meats in sauce or stuffed, and Yule logs.

A view shared by Véronique Liesse:  » Out of 100% of your cholesterol, 25% comes directly from animal foods (meat, eggs, cheese…) and 75% is manufactured by you. In fact, you make it from carbohydrates and lipids (sugars and fats). It’s all the hyperglycemic foods like those [with high glycemic index or rich in carbohydrates] that raise bad cholesterol levels. So, inevitably, during the festive season, it explodes because of your overeating « .

High cholesterol, leading to clogged and narrowed arteries, increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Severe indigestion

Véronique Liesse points out that « in the short term, the first risk will be indigestion, if you indulge in one excess after another during the festive season « , particularly animal fats, alcohol and chocolate, which are difficult to digest.

 » The liver is a filter, responsible for eliminating the toxins we ingest. And when it becomes overwhelmed, it can no longer perform its function. The body will then try to eliminate the toxins more quickly, through vomiting and diarrhea. This is the liver crisis , » explains nutritionist Raphaël Gruman.

Sleep disorders

 » Alcohol and heavy meals have a real impact on sleep, » says the nutritionist, disrupting sleep quality.

The body, having difficulty digesting excesses, will produce and expend more energy to eliminate them, thus altering your sleep. Alcohol also promotes snoring and sleep apnea.


High levels of salt in cold meats, cheese and bread can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and certain cancers.

« Excess salt stiffens the arteries, promoting high blood pressure, one of the main risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, » explains Raphaël Gruman.

The French Federation of Cardiology states that reducing salt consumption to 6g a day would prevent 35,000 people from dying from stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Salt, converted into sodium in the body, turns into water. This increases the volume of blood flowing through the arteries, raising blood pressure. This can lead to the formation of blood clots, which in turn can lead to a heart attack. So remember to balance your salt intake!

In reasonable quantities, festive meals are not dangerous, especially if you watch your diet for the rest of the year. The important thing is to treat yourself and your family to a balanced diet.