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What is the relationship between stress, metabolism and weight gain?

Do you think that the intense stress drives you to burn more calories when you are calm and relaxed? You might be wrong. In some cases, it is due to other factors. According to a recent study, women in a stressful situation could make your metabolism slower and could cause weight gain.

Did you happened sometime? When you go through a very stressful situation you may try to feel better the next day the easy way: by eating foods that comfort you, makes you relax … and they are almost always full of fat and calories . The result? These foods are slowing your metabolism and contribute to weight gain potential.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study at The Ohio State University Medical Center Wexner conducted involving 58 women, with an average age of 53 years, and published in the professional journal  Biological Psychiatry .

In order to regulate their food intake for 24 hours, the researchers served them the day before the test three regular meals, and told them not to eat anything for 12 hours before reporting to the visit to the studio.

On the day of admission, participants completed several questionnaires about their depression-related symptoms and physical activity, and asked if they had gone through a stressful situation yesterday. Of the participants, only six reported no stress. Almost all of these situations were related to personal problems, such as discussions with their partners or at work, disagreements with friends, problems with their children, etc.For the study, participants received a meal of 930 calories with 60 grams of fat. The food which should be consumed in 20 minutes, consisted of eggs, turkey sausage, biscuits  sauce, which can be compared with calorie fast foods (like double cheeseburger and fries) that almost everyone usually consumed when you are in a hurry.

Before the meal, participants rested for 30 minutes and was measured at the time their energy expenditure to find out how many calories burned their bodies at rest. After eating, the researchers measured their metabolic rate every hour for the next seven hours. The result was that burning fewer calories for those seven hours after lunch if they had gone through a stressful situation yesterday.

On average, women in the study who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 calories less than those who had not experienced stress. That difference may not seem significant once or twice; but if repeated, produces an increase in weight of about 11 pounds (5 kilos) a year.

Furthermore the weight increase, the stressed women had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to fat storage, unless oxidation of fat and hinders the transformation of large molecules in other small fat, which may then be used as fuel for their activities. Therefore, the fat that is not burned is stored in the body.

According to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study, this means that over time, the stress can lead to weight gain. She says: “We know it’s more likely to eat foods that do not need when you are under stress. And our data show that if you eat foods that do not need to, gain weight because you burn fewer calories, ”

The experiment was not carried out in men, because they tend to have more muscle mass than women, what sets your metabolic rate is different.Of course in life you can not avoid stress situations that can negatively affect you, but there are ways to reduce and manage it . Besides, if you can do something to control your weight and maintain your health: try to have on hand (in your refrigerator or cooler and in your pantry) healthy foods that are not high in calories, so you do not have to eat things that increase your weight to relax or run an establishment of junk food every time you face a stressful situation.

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