A fight can make you fat: study
LONDON — Blistering marital rows can lead to people piling on the pounds, according to a study.
Researchers found that fierce arguments with a spouse were able to alter how the body processes high-fat foods and increase the risk of obesity in adults.
Men and women with a history of depression who had especially heated arguments burned fewer calories after a meal than less argumentative couples.
The reduction in calories burned could translate to gaining 12lb (5.4kg) a year.
These couples also had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to the storage of fat, and triglycerides – a form of fat in the blood – after eating a heavy meal.
Lead researcher Professor Jan Kiecolt-glaser, from Ohio State University, said the study backs up her previous research, which found that women who are stressed put on weight because their metabolism slows down, burning 100 fewer calories a day.
She said: “These findings not only identify how chronic stressors can lead to obesity, but also point to how important it is to treat mood disorders. Interventions for mental health clearly
could benefit physical health as well.”
The researchers recruited 43 healthy couples, ages 24 to 61, who had been married for at least three years.
During the study, all participants ate a meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, designed to mimic common fast-food options, with roughly the calories and fat in a Burger King double whopper with cheese or a McDonald’s Big Mac and medium fries.
Two hours later the couples were asked to discuss and try to resolve one or more issues that researchers had previously judged to be most likely to produce conflict. Common topics were money, communication and their inlaws.
Blood samples showed that participants with both a mood disorder and a hostile marriage burned an average of 31 fewer calories per hour than those couples who had fewer arguments. Professor Kiecolt-glaser added: “Our results probably underestimate the health risks because the effects of only one meal were analysed. Most people eat every four to five hours, and often dine with their spouses. “Meals provide prime opportunities for ongoing disagreements in a troubled marriage, so there could be a long-standing pattern of metabolic damage stemming from hostility and depression.”
—- Daily Mail
Fierce arguments with a spouse were able to alter how the body processes high-fat foods and increase the risk of obesity in adults