Under stress, many people gain weight. This is not new, because when you are under time pressure and pressure to perform, you often don’t eat a balanced diet. After a stressful day, you usually have neither the time nor the nerve to go shopping for healthy food in peace and quiet, let alone turn it into balanced meals. But that alone is not the reason for stress-related obesity. Scientists at Ohio State University (OSU) have now found out why stress can lead to obesity.
Autor: Dr. med. W. Tönnes
Less calories are burned during stress
The Ohio State University (OSU) tested healthy women who ate specially prepared, high-fat meals under supervision. Before and after the meal, the researchers checked how quickly the calories were burned in the women’s bodies and how the blood sugar and insulin levels, blood fat levels and cortisol levels changed.
According to the study published in the scientific journal Biological Psychiatry, those test persons who had experienced one or more stressful situations the day before burned significantly fewer calories compared to the participants who had not experienced anything stressful 24 hours before – on average 104 calories less in 7 hours. For the researchers, one thing is clear: after stress, the body can break down fewer calories. But not only that.
High insulin levels inhibit fat burning
In addition, it could be shown that the stressed women had higher insulin levels than the non-stressed women.
However, elevated insulin levels inhibit the conversion of fat into energy. Therefore, when insulin levels are high, fat burning is inadequate. Consequently, much more fat is stored in the tissues and you gain weight.
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