Factors that cause women to experience stress can lead to them putting on weight, a study has found.
According to research by the Ohio State University, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, going through at least one stressful event 24 hours before eating a high-fat meal can lead to the body's metabolism slowing down.
Tests showed that non-stressed females burned an average of 104 more calories than those who had experienced one or more stressors over the previous day.
This suggests that women who are dealing with stress could be particularly susceptible to weight gain.
Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author of the study, commented: "We know from other data that we're more likely to eat the wrong foods when we're stressed."
Co-author Professor Martha Belury added that while it is impossible to completely avoid stressors, people can at least prepare by having healthy food choices on hand.
This, she stated, would ensure that when stressful situations do arise, they can reach for a healthier option rather than eat a "convenient but high-fat choice".
Last month we reported on updated draft NICE guidance on obesity that proposed very-low-calorie diets should be used more selectively and included new recommendations on weight loss surgery for people with type 2 diabetes. Read the full article here.
In 2011 the British Psychological Society published a report that highlighted the added value psychological and therapeutic approaches can offer when integrated effectively with other obesity treatments.
The report, ‘Obesity in the UK: A psychological perspective’, was the result of cross-discipline working group including clinical, educational, health, counselling and sport and exercise psychologists.
Dr Julie Waumsley, chair of the working group, said at the time of publication:
“It is clear from this report that obesity is a complex issue. If the ‘cure’ was as simple as logics suggests (eat healthily and take regular exercise) there would not be an obesity epidemic blighting the lives of so many and draining NHS resources. Nutritional and sociological factors have received much government and media attention but the psychological approach, often neglected, could make the difference in helping individuals tackle this problem.”