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article imageOp-Ed: Stress makes women put on weight? Study shows some grim figures

By Paul Wallis     Jul 14, 2014 in Health
Columbus - Stress is bad enough, but does it make women gain weight? A new study indicates that the changes in metabolic rates brought on by stress may be the key to weight gain.
It’s not a wonderful picture for women who already have enough on their plates, without the added insult of unwanted weight.
News Australia:
Women who experienced one or more stressful events burned significantly fewer calories than those who did not, scientists found.
The difference was big enough to pile on almost 5kg over the course of a year, prompting a warning not to resort to unhealthy comfort food at times of stress.
Stressed women had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to fat storage. Their fat was also less likely to be oxidised — converted into a form that can be used as fuel.
The study by Ohio State University was conducted using 58 subjects, and measured according to reports of prior stress, including family and work-related stress. Only six subjects said they were stress-free. The strange thing was that the women who reported stress also burned less calories in a calorie-controlled experiment, over a 7 hour period.
1. Before simply accepting these figures, there are a lot of questions to be considered –
2. Why would stress, which supposedly speeds up the body, reduce metabolism? What’s the survival advantage?
3. Don’t you need more energy in stressful situations?
4. Does less oxidization mean that oxygen supplies are diverted to other areas during stress?
5. If stress alters metabolic behaviour, how can it be corrected?
6. If this is a consistent measure, does treating stress reduce weight gain?
In this stress-factory of a world, these questions could relate directly to the obesity plague now sweeping the whole of humanity, in so many ways. The incidence of weight-related diabetes alone is now impacting entire nations.
Then there’s this, another, sinister, indicator of possible health risks:
A history of depression alone did not affect metabolic rate.
But depression combined with stressful events led to a steeper rise in triglyceride blood fats — a risk factor for heart disease — after the meal.
This shouldn't need spelling out, even to the most pedantic — depression is another global plague. So are cardio-related conditions. About one in four people experience depression at some time, and an unknown number live with it for decades. In terms of global population, that’s about 1.75 billion people.
If the equation is “Stress = Added health risks,” the prognosis isn’t good. If treating stress equates to yet another class of medications, it’s worse, in multiple ways. The health bottom line is either people get healthier, or everyone suffers.
Everything from pain management to psych disorders now seems to be “managed,” rather than cured. Ongoing conditions, rather than cured conditions, are now the norm. “Managing” dangerous, health-compromising stress isn’t the answer.
This study may find a simple way of managing the combination of stress and weight gain. Does not eating help reduce stress? Sounds bizarre, particularly when the body’s natural stress reaction is to eat more food, but could it help? Looks like the way to break the cycle is to change the cycle.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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