Stressed women pile on pounds eating fat
Eating a fatty meal after a stressful day can slow a woman's metabolism and make her gain weight, research has shown.
Women who experienced one or more stressful events burned significantly fewer calories than those who did not, scientists found.
The difference was big enough to pile on almost 11 extra pounds over the course of a year, prompting a warning not to resort to unhealthy comfort food at times of stress.
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.
US lead scientist Professor Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, from Ohio State University, said: "This means that, over time, stressors could lead to weight gain. 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."
The scientists questioned 58 middle-aged women about how stressed they were the previous day before giving them a meal containing 930 calories and 60 grams of fat.
On average, those women who reported experiencing one or more stressful events burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in the seven hours following the meal.
The research appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry.