When you eat a meal that is high in fat and calories, you will either burn what you have consumed or store it as fat. The amount of calories and fat you burn depends primarily on your metabolism and activities. However, not every person metabolizes fat and calories in the same way, and different factors can affect metabolism from one day to the next. Recently, a study examined the effect of various stressors on the metabolism of high-fat meals consumed by women. The conclusions indicate that stress could be contributing to long-term weight gain.
Stress and Metabolism
According to Ohio State University, this study examined the changes in metabolism among women who reported certain stressors. During the study, participants were asked to disclose any stressors they had experienced in the last 24 hours. They were then given a meal that included 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. Participants’ metabolic rates were tested during 30 minutes of rest immediately before the meal. Metabolic rates were also tested hourly for seven hours after the meal to identify differences between women who were under stress and women who reported no stressors.
Stress Increases Fat Storage
Women who had reported at least one stressor during the 24 hours before the meal burned an average of 104 fewer calories than women who had not identified a stressor. If the pattern continued long-term, this could lead to nearly 11 extra pounds gained each year. The study also showed that women who were stressed before eating have lower fat oxidation rates and higher blood insulin levels, both of which contribute to the storage of fat. The results of the study were the same regardless of whether the meal consumed contained saturated fat or unsaturated fat.
Lower Stress and Lose Weight
Previous research had already shown a connection between stress and obesity. This study sheds some light on how the two conditions may affect one another. When women are stressed, they are more likely to choose the wrong foods, such as those that are high in fat. To make the problem worse, metabolism slows down following a significant stressor, so it is even harder for the individual to burn any extra fat or calories she consumes.
Stress is only one of the many factors that can contribute to the development of obesity. Because extra weight can cause so many health problems, weight loss is essential for anyone who has become obese or overweight.