New York: The next time you order a pizza topped with extra cheese to bust your stress, think again!
Eating a single high-fat meal a day after experiencing one or more stressful events can slow the body’s metabolism, potentially contributing to weight gain, almost five kg a year, says a study.
“We know from other data that we are more likely to eat the wrong foods when we are stressed, and our data say that when we eat the wrong foods, weight gain becomes more likely because we are burning fewer calories,” said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University in the US.
“This means that, over time, stressors could lead to weight gain,” Kiecolt-Glaser added.
For the study, researchers questioned study participants about the previous day’s stressors before giving them a meal consisting of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat.
On an average, the women in the study who reported one or more stressors during the first 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than nonstressed women in the seven hours after eating the high-fat meal – a difference that could result in weight gain of almost 11 pounds (4.98 kg) in one year.
The study was conducted on 58 women with an average age 53.
The stressed women also had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to the storage of fat, and less fat oxidation – the conversion of large fat molecules into smaller molecules that can be used as fuel. Fat that is not burned is stored.
The research was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.