Stress Can Undo Benefits Of A Healthy Diet, Ladies
Stress 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.”
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.
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.