Stress Can Undo Benefits Of A Healthy Diet, Ladies

stressed businesswomanStress could undo some of your healthy food choices, a new study suggests.

Stressful events from the day before appear to eradicate any health benefits a person might have gained from choosing a breakfast rich in “good” monounsaturated fats, as opposed to a breakfast loaded with “bad” saturated fats, Ohio State University researchers found.

“They physiologically looked like they’d eaten the high saturated fat meal,” lead researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser said of stressed-out healthy eaters in the study. “Their advantage in eating the healthier meal disappeared.”

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Previous research has shown that saturated fats increase inflammation in the body, which has been linked with heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and a host of other health problems, said Kiecolt-Glaser. She’s director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

“Inflammation is now looking like it’s associated with a lot of the nasty diseases of aging,” she said. “It’s like a catalog of what you don’t want in your life.”

Saturated fats mainly come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. They tend to be solid at room temperature; for example, the white fat found on a steak or pork chop is saturated fat, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

On the other hand, diets rich in unsaturated fats — such as the Mediterranean diet — have been shown to help heart health. Unsaturated fats generally come from plants, and are liquid at room temperature, the AHA says.

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It seems straightforward, but stress complicates the way the body processes food, Kiecolt-Glaser said. Other studies have shown that a person’s metabolic rate is lower and insulin levels are higher following a stressful day.