One day a week, you can eat as much ice cream, pizza and crisps as you want as a reward for sticking to your diet on the other six days. For many, the cheat day method doesn’t sound all so bad.

The beauty of cheat day lies in its simplicity: Instead of salad, you can dig in to whatever you’ve been craving, whether that’s frozen pizza or an entire cake. On cheat day, there are zero restrictions.

And the best part is that you still lose weight – or at least that’s what cheat day proponents say. A quick search on social media shows images of buff girls and guys in front of tables stacked with food.

“A feast day motivates you to stick to otherwise strict dietary rules as well as gets your metabolism going,” says Guenter Wagner, a German nutrition expert. But it doesn’t work when an athlete “stuffs himself indiscriminately” – rather, he should treat himself here and there.

Hans Hauner, a professor at a university nutrition institute in southern Germany, even warns that cheat day can be bad for you.

“The body can indeed deal with masses of food and process it all, but it creates an unnecessary amount of stress in doing so,” he explains.

Overwhelming your body with fats, carbohydrates and sugar can cause your blood-sugar levels to spike, says Hauner, and lots of blood has to be directed to the digestive tract in order to process the food. “That makes us feel dull and inefficient,” says Hauner. It can also lead to constipation. He advises overweight people, as well as people with diabetes or metabolic diseases, to avoid partaking in cheat day. – dpa