It’s that time of the year when we’ve enjoyed weeks of Christmas catch-ups, drinks, office parties, and finally Christmas day and all of the feasting that entails. As we head into new year’s eve you might be starting to feel guilty about over-indulgence.

But if you’re healthy the rest of the year, do these few weeks really matter to our overall health?

Well, it’s complicated. Some studies have found we put on weight over this period, but just a little bit. Some studies have found despite increases in calorie consumption our weight stays about the same, thanks to something called homeostasis. This is where our body tries its darndest to keep things in their normal, constant state.

But overall, as food scientist and nutritionist Emma Beckett outlines this morning, food is not just fuel. It’s a big part of our cultures, and it contributes to our emotional as well as physical wellbeing. So while she has a few words of caution, the bottom line is healthy eating and healthy indulgence can co-exist.

Alexandra Hansen

Deputy Editor and Chief of Staff

I’ve indulged over the holidays. If I’m healthy the rest of the time, does it matter?

Emma Beckett, University of Newcastle

We all eat and drink a bit too much over Christmas and the holidays. But how guilty do we really need to feel about it?

5 elections to watch in 2023 – what’s at stake as millions head to the ballot box around the globe

Blessing-Miles Tendi, University of Oxford; Ahmet T. Kuru, San Diego State University; Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University; Carl LeVan, American University; Eduardo Gamarra, Florida International University

Zimbabwe, Turkey, Argentina, Pakistan and Nigeria all have presidential or general elections in 2023.

India’s ‘untouchable’ women face discrimination even in schemes meant to help them

Kanika Meshram, The University of Melbourne

India’s microlending programs, meant to help poor women get out of poverty, have become another point of caste discrimination

All the cinema (and sequels) we have to look forward to in 2023

Ari Mattes, University of Notre Dame Australia

There’s a lot of sequels and reboots to look forward to in 2023.

‘I had it first!’ 4 steps to help children solve their own arguments

Amelia Church, The University of Melbourne

If children squabble, adults usually try to establish the cause and provide a solution. But experts say it is more effective to help kids solve the argument themselves.

What risks could pet hamsters and gerbils pose in Australia?

Marta Hernandez-Jover, Charles Sturt University; Andrew Peters, Charles Sturt University

Hamsters and gerbils could threaten not just native Australian animals, but also plants and broader ecosystems.

The history and mystery of Tangram, the children’s puzzle game that harbours a mathematical paradox or two

Thomas Britz, UNSW Sydney

Tangram is accessible yet challenging, and an excellent educational tool. It’s still used in schools today to help illustrate mathematical concepts and develop mathematical thinking skills.

Open banking is coming to New Zealand – here’s what we can learn from countries already doing it

Abhishek Mukherjee, University of Waikato; Paresha Sinha, University of Waikato; Paul David Richard Griffiths, EM Normandie

New Zealand is preparing to roll out so-called ‘open banking’, Europe can offer valuable lessons on how best to open the financial system to new players.


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