Stress can counteract healthy eating
Keeping to a diet is hard work, but new research suggests that even if you stick to your healthy eating plan at all times, all the hard can be undone if you’re feeling stressed.
Scientists from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have concluded that feeling anxious can cancel out all the goodness of eating well.
Lead by Dr Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the team analysed a group of women with an average age of 53. Of the participants, 37 were breast cancer survivors and 20 weren’t. The women were all asked to eat the same breakfast of eggs, turkey sausage, biscuits and gravy, though some were randomly assigned a healthier version made with unsaturated fat from a sunflower oil with a high concentration in anti-inflammatory oleic acid and the others a less healthy option using saturated fat from palm oil. The meal was chosen to mimic a typical fast food meal.
The researchers then spoke to the participants about their stress levels, which ranged from minor irritations to having to deal with a parent who has dementia.
Blood was drawn from the whole group, and checked for inflammation. Results showed that the women who ate the healthier breakfast and were stress free had lower levels of inflammation, but for those feeling anxious it didn’t matter which breakfast they ate, their inflammation levels were high.
“This shows us stress really does interact with the type of food you're eating,” Dr Kiecolt-Glaser told Daily Mail Online. “No matter what women ate, if they were stressed their inflammation was higher.”
Results have been published in journal Molecular Psychiatry.