Don't stress about your weight: you may make it worse
Published 14/07/2014 | 02:30
Women who feel stressed find it harder to lose weight because they burn calories more slowly, research suggests.
Researchers gave the same meal to women before assessing their stress levels, and measuring the number of calories they burnt.
They found that those who had experienced one or more stressful events the previous day burnt far fewer calories from the meal than those who did not – a difference amounting to 11 extra pounds over the course of a year.
Stressed women had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to fat storage. Their fat was also less likely to be oxidised – converted into a form that can be used as fuel – according to the findings, published in the journal 'Biological Psychiatry'.
Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioural Medicine at Ohio State University, and lead author of the study, said: "We know from other data that we're more likely to eat the wrong foods when we're stressed, and our data say that when we eat the wrong foods, weight gain becomes more likely because we are burning fewer calories."
Prof Martha Belury, co-author of the study, advised women to make an effort to avoid comfort food when they are stressed.
She said: "We can't always avoid stressors in our life, but we can reach for something healthy rather than going for a high-fat choice." (© Daily Telegraph, London)