Gobbling down junk food on a regular basis certainly isn’t healthy, but a new study found that stress is as bad for your health as junk food…..especially for women.
Researchers found that stressed female mice experienced changes to their gut microbiota — that is, the community of microorganisms that reside in the intestine — comparable with what is seen in response to a high-fat diet. In male mice, however, stress appeared to have no effect on gut microbiota.
TechnologyNetworks.com took a closer look at why male and female mice reacted differently to stress. “The researchers found fascinating differences between genders: Male mice on the high-fat diet exhibited more anxiety than females on the high-fat diet, and high-fat males also showed decreased activity in response to stress. However, it was only in female mice that stress caused the gut microbiota composition to shift as if the animals were on a high-fat diet.”
“In society, women tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are linked to stress” said study co-author Laura Bridgewater. “This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males vs. females.”
According to the New York Post, “Recent research has pointed to stress as a culprit in obesity. For example, one study published in February in the journal Obesity found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol correlated to a larger waist circumference and higher body mass index.”
It’s a modern-day inconvenience that actually helped us out back in the caveman days, Dr. Holly Lofton, director of the medical weight management program at NYU Langone Health, tells the Post.
When humans back then had a fight-or-flight response to stress — like escaping a predator — their “body’s glucose level rises to prepare to handle the situation,” she says.
Useful then, but not so great now. “When glucose increases, insulin rises . . . causing fat storage,” she says.
WellAndGood.com shared a few tips to help with stress starting with – prioritizing your mental health: Try to calm your nerves through meditation, different breathing techniques, or by sipping on some wellness beverages before stress starts affecting your entire body.
Share your thoughts on this new study. Do you believe stress is as bad for you as a heaping helping of junk food? And if it is……what can we do to help ease the anxiety? Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!