Long-Term Stress Could Make You Fat

Posted: Feb 23 2017, 9:57am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Long-Term Stress Could Make You Fat
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  • Stress may cause Obesity over the Long Haul
 

A study shows that stress may cause, among other things, obesity over the long haul.

Is it possible that chronic long-term stress may be making you pile on the extra pounds?

Researchers give an affirmative answer to this query. The stress status and weight in pounds of 2500 males and females above the age of 54 were observed by the experts and they came up with a few surprising results.

The gist of the study which was published in the journal Obesity showed that a stress hormone known as cortisol caused a deposition of fat. This hormone was found in the hair of the obese subjects.  

The levels of cortisol in curls of hair showed the subjects to have larger waist girth and a high body mass index. Thus we see that chronic stress is connected intimately to weight gain.

Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands. It is pumped into the blood when the person feels the least amount of stress or tension.

Besides stopping inflammation and controlling blood pressure, cortisol stabilizes blood sugar and adrenalizes the body to handle any tough emergency situation. 

Thus glucose is provided to the human brain which thrives on this source of energy. Besides this, the metabolic rate, body fat/muscle ratio and lipogenesis also come into play upon the release of cortisol into the bloodstream.

Cortisol is normally released due to signals from receptors imbedded inside visceral fat. This is the fat that surrounds the internal organs of the body and thus it is deeply connected to weight gain and lipolysis.

While cortisol is ordinarily tested through the blood, saliva or urine samples, this is a rather limited means of gauging its presence in the body. 

Cortisol levels are caused by many factors. Your meal contents, their timings, points of high tension and nervousness and even maladies cause cortisol to skyrocket.

The levels of cortisol could also be judged via its presence in hair strands. These strands were used in the experiment. While stress did most probably cause obesity, the cause and effect conundrum remained an unanswered dilemma.

Causation after all does not mean correlation. Exposure to stress does have a wearying effect in the long run though. Even being obese may cause stress levels to soar due to the stigma attached to this condition.

The best defense against the stress and obesity relation, which seems to be a chicken-and-egg phenomenon, is to engage in other means of stress relief besides overeating.

The best strategies include mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Food ought not to be relied upon as an antidote to negative feelings.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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