Eating good fats can eradicate stress

Islamabad: A new study suggested that stress eradicates the positive effects of choosing good fats.


Prof. Kiecolt Glaser and colleagues were aware that diet and stress can change inflammation in the body which is linked to heart disease diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

However they wanted to examine the interaction between stress diet and inflammatory markers that they could measure in the bloodstream.

Additionally the researchers asked the women about their previous day s experiences using a Daily Inventory of Stressful Events questionnaire to conclude whether or not the woman was stressed.

The team discounted minor irritants but they noted stressful situations such as cleaning up paint a child had spilled on the floor or helping a parent with dementia who resisted help. Prof. Kiecolt Glaser notes that they are not life shattering events but they are relatively stressful.

The researchers also evaluated two markers that predict a higher likelihood of plaque building up in the arteries.

The results showed that women who ate the saturated fat meal had higher readings in all four negative markers compared with the women who ate the sunflower oil meal.

However in the women who had stressful days this difference vanished and as such eating a breakfast with bad fat was the same as eating one with good fat.

Interestingly while stress raised levels of the harmful blood markers in the sunflower oil group stress did not affect the readings for the women who ate saturated fat.

The researchers specifically chose the meal they used for the study because it mimicked a typical high calorie high fat fast food meal.

Study co author Martha Belury explains that they know a less healthy meal is going to have adverse effects on markers of inflammation but we wanted to look at this type of meal with different types of fat.

She notes that research is increasingly pointing to reduced inflammation as a major benefit of eating healthier foods including following the Mediterranean diet which is higher in oleic acid from olive oil.

The investigators add that because inflammation contributes to disease over time when stressed we should still be careful about what we eat. They conclude

These data show how recent stressors and a [major depressive disorder] history can reverberate through metabolic alterations promoting inflammatory and atherogenic responses.

This study further sends the message that moderation is key making consistently healthy choices may help mitigate the effects of stress over time.