In a new study published in Biological Psychiatry, researchers found that stress contributes to a slower metabolism and boosted insulin levels. A team at Ohio State’s Wexler Medical School surveyed 58 women about how stressful their days were before feeding them a high-fat meal nearing 1,000 calories. The researchers found that the women who reported having been stressed earlier in the day burned on average 104 fewer calories than those who reported no stress.
The women then wore masks which were able to measure their metabolism by calculating inhaled and exhaled airflow of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The researchers also measured the women’s blood sugar, triglycerides (cholesterol), insulin and the stress hormone cortisol.
The researchers concluded that stress’ effect on the metabolism could equal up to 11 extra pounds of fat each year. Time notes that previous research indicates no real difference in the ways stress affects men’s bodies.
So what’s the solution to making sure you don’t put on any undue weight? Try to reduce stress in any way possible. If you’re the type of person who can’t avoid stress, you need to avoid eating unhealthy meals at day’s end.