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Study: Stress, High-fat Meals Combine For Added Pounds

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(Credit: Stan Honda/Getty Images)

(Credit: Stan Honda/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We all know too much stress can be bad for your health, but it can also be bad for your waistline.

A new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry suggests that a combination of high stress levels, a history of depression and high-fat meals can be a recipe for obesity.

Researchers interviewed 58 women about stress they experience during their day – such as arguing with spouses or children – then gave them a large meal of eggs, biscuits with gravy and turkey sausage that totaled 930 calories and 60 grams of fat.

Then the scientists had the women wear masks that calculated the speed of their metabolism and measured their levels of sugar, insulin, cholesterol and cortisol, the stress hormone.

Now for the bad news: Women who said they were stressed 24 hours before the experiment burned just over 100 calories less than women who were not stressed, a number that could add up to 11 extra pounds over the course of a year.

On the bright side, the women weren’t able to choose their own meal during the study, so it is possible they would have made a healthier choice if left to their own devices.

Of course, “This is not an extraordinary meal compared to what many of us would grab when we’re in a hurry and out getting some food,” said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

In other words, keep those healthy foods around so you don’t reach for a doughnut or a bag of chips when you’re feeling stressed out.

To see the study, click here.

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