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(NEWSER) – Plan to enjoy a few extra helpings of mashed potatoes, gravy, and gingerbread men over the coming weeks—but worried about all those pounds you're bound to pack on? Cut yourself some slack, suggests Travis Saunders on the PLOS blog.

He points out that while people regularly parrot the line that we gain 5 to 10 pounds over the holidays, research has shown that just isn't true. He digs up a study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, that says just that. The researchers determined that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the actual average holiday weight gain is just 0.81 pounds.

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