Stress May Wipe Out Benefits of Healthy Meals

Photo by Alliance / Shutterstock.com

Try not to stress out over this news: Researchers have discovered yet another way that stress may harm our health.

A study out of Ohio State University found that when women deal with a stressful event, it can essentially cancel out the health benefits of so-called “good” fats those women eat after the stressor.

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this week.

The study is the first to show that stress has this potential, according to lead researcher Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine.

For the study, the participants — 58 women with an average age of 53 — visited OSU on two different days.

During the visits, the women were randomly assigned to eat one of two breakfasts.

Both meals were high in calories (930) and fat (60 grams) because they were designed to mimic a typical fast-food meal. The breakfasts differed in that one was what OSU describes as “high in less-healthy saturated fat from palm oil” while one was “higher in healthier unsaturated fat from a sunflower oil high in oleic acid.”

The women were also questioned about their previous day to determine whether they were stressed.

The types of events that researchers considered significant stressors include:

  • Having to clean up paint a child spilled all over the floor
  • Struggling to help a parent with dementia who was resisting help

Kiecolt-Glaser describes them as “not life-shattering events” but “not of the hangnail variety either.”

When women reported no significant stress before a visit and ate the “bad-fat” meal, researchers found more indications of inflammation than when the unstressed women at the “good-fat” meal, as the researchers expected.

But for women who experienced significant stress before one or both visits — which was the vast majority of participants — the difference disappeared.

Kiecolt-Glaser tells HealthDay that the stressed women who ate a good-fat meal “physiologically looked like they’d eaten the high-saturated-fat meal.”

She continues:

“If they were stressed, it wiped out all the good stuff.”

What do you make of news like this? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance
How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance

This is the last article on understanding and shopping for car insurance you’ll ever need.

These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life
These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life

Need a laptop that runs as long as you do? Check out these models.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.