Stress Can Make You Eat Unhealthy

Posted: Aug 6 2015, 12:49am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Stress Can Make You Eat Unhealthy
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Stress can sabotage your self control and makes unhealthy food irresistable, according to a study

People prefer tasty, unhealthy food when they are under stress, a new study suggests. 

According to latest Swiss study, stress can sabotage your self-control and make you pick delicious food over healthy yet less tasty food. 

For the study, 51 people were recruited by the researchers of University of Zurich. All those people were making an effort to maintain a healthy life style. But they admitted that sometimes they cannot resist unhealthy food.

Researchers were aiming to find how daily life stresses can affect the food choices of people. This study also intended to explain why people choose short term gain over long-term goals under stress.

29 of the participants were put under moderate stress. Their hands were submerged in ice water for three minutes and were videotaped and monitored as well. Participants were already asked to rank different food in terms of taste and health. So the researchers can exactly know the taste preferences of each individual and can make contrasting pairs based on the information.

Participants were shown pairs of pictures different food items. They were asked to choose between very tasty but unhealthy food and healthy but less tasty food. Brain activity was scanned in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine during the process.

The healthier food was also outlined to indicate the recommended food items. However, participants who were under stress went for tasty food more often than healthy ones. 

“Stress participants are struggling most and are most likely to fail when their temptation gets really, really high in terms of taste.” Silvia Maier, the lead author of the study said. 

Since delicious but less healthy food was giving an immediate reward, it was the more preferred choice. Healthy food options will contribute in long-term wellness. So they were pushed aside until stress resolves. 

The study also highlights if two items are relatively close in terms of taste, the person under stress will go for healthier option.

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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