Study Suggests that Stress Stops Benefits of a Healthy Diet

woman-stressPeople are advised to eat healthy in order to live a better life. However, a new study shows that stress can have such a negative effects on an individual’s body that even eating healthy won’t do them any good. The new research observed that women who ate a healthy breakfast weren’t able to experience its benefits due to the carry-over effects of stress from yesterday.

All of the women who participated in the study were those who reported not experiencing any stress a day before. They ate a breakfast that was made using healthy fats, while some of them ate a specific breakfast that included saturated fats. The women who ate the healthy breakfast showed no changes in numerous markers for inflammation. These markers are known to be strongly related to a wide number of diseases.

However, after experiencing a day of stress, it was observed that there was no difference between eating a healthy breakfast and the one that had saturated fats. The stress included worrying about financial issues, wanting to be in two places at once, being afraid about a child’s health, etc.


The current findings were reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The study aimed to further understand the link present between the food we consume, a person’s lifestyle and whether or not chronic diseases such as depression, heart diseases or diabetes were developed. Inflammation was focused upon as it led to a lot of ailments if unchecked.

According to the lead author of the current study, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the director of Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, while the exact role of inflammation in the development of disease is uncertain, it does play a part. That is why when inflammation markers fluctuate due to the type of food consumed, it can provide researchers with further insight related to how chronic inflammation damages an individual. It can also help to come up with guidelines about things that should be welcomed and the ones that should be avoided by people.

During the study, a total of 58 healthy women went through a series of test before as well as after being assigned to two separate groups. The average age of the women was 53. All of the participants were given the same kind of meals that they were to eat while at home. But on the next day all of women were assigned one of two meals. Both meals had 930 calories and 60 grams of high-fat. It consisted of turkey sausage, eggs, gravy and biscuits. The difference was that one group’s breakfast was cooked in a fast-food manner with butter and being very high in saturated fats. The other breakfast was cooked with sunflower oil. Though this type of breakfast was still a dense one, it focused more on having greater content of unsaturated fats.

farm fresh vegetables

All of the women had their blood drawn before and after their meals in order to measure the four different kinds of markers linked to inflammation. The participants were also asked to give a detail of their previous day. The detail also included any stressors. Blood pressure, past history and current symptoms of depression were also recorded.

The results of the research showed that 31 out of the total 58 participants reported to have experienced at least one stressor at one visit while 21 participants reported at least one recent stressor at both visits. Only 6 women participants didn’t report any stressors during their visits.

The results further went on to show that even if women ate a healthy breakfast, due to experiencing stressors a day before, they showed no change in their inflammation compared to women who ate a breakfast that was less healthy.

It has been suggested by the results of the study that even if women opted for healthy food options it might not be enough to actually benefit them if they have been experiencing stress a day before. It was also observed that eating breakfast that was high in saturated fat content didn’t lead to higher levels of inflammation markers even due to previous day stressors. This could mean that if such makers are already pushed to higher levels due to certain diet options, the residual effects from a stressful day isn’t able to increase them higher.

According to researchers of the current study, women are urged to keep consuming healthy food options. However, they need better ways to cope with daily stressors in order to fully benefit from their meals and prevent certain diseases.

Category: News

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Article by: Douglas Norman

Douglas writes all the latest health news for BodyFatLoss. He is very diligent about finding all the facts and sources of any new health and fitness findings.