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Another Way that Exercise Helps Your Weight Loss Efforts

weight loss effort and exercise

Obviously, that 30 minute run burns calories, helping you to lose weight. But there may be an additional way that regular exercise can help your diet efforts!


Have you worked hard at steering yourself away from certain foods in an effort to improve your health and/or to lose weight? For example, are you eating less saturated fat – fats that have been shown to increase inflammation in the body which then could lead to heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes?

With all the positive efforts you are making in your diet, there may be one factor you are missing to pull all the pieces together for success.


New research from Ohio State University suggests that stress can derail your healthful eating changes. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at Wexner Medical Center, says that stress complicates the way the body processes food. Her research seems to confirm other studies that have shown that a person’s metabolic rate is lower and insulin levels are higher following a stressful day.

To assess this phenomenon, Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues recruited 58 healthy women (average age 53 years) to eat two separate (but identical looking) breakfasts – both containing about 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. However, one group of women ate a “saturated fat” source (primarily of animal source) and the remaining women ate an “unsaturated fat” source (plant-based sunflower oil).

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The women who were free of stress tended to have better blood test results after they ate the monounsaturated fat breakfast, compared to when they ate the saturated fat alternative. The ladies had lower levels of inflammatory markers and also tested lower for cell adhesion

Not really surprising, right? But when stressed out women ate the unsaturated fat meal, “They physiologically looked like they’d eaten the high saturated fat” choice, says Kiecolt-Glaser.

So while you are planning that week’s worth of healthy meals, monitor your stress levels over the week as well. Find ways to reduce your stress – and one of the best ways is a regular exercise routine! Past studies show that those who exercise have lower levels of stress and also fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Other ways to manage your stress levels is to get regular adequate sleep, using meditation, prayer or yoga as a stress reliever, or doing something pleasurable such as taking a warm bath or sitting down to a good book.

Journal Reference:
J K Kiecolt-Glaser, C P Fagundes, R Andridge, J Peng, W B Malarkey, D Habash, M A Belury. Depression, daily stressors and inflammatory responses to high-fat meals: when stress overrides healthier food choices. Molecular Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2016.149

Photo Credit:
By Lara604 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lara604/2369412952/) via Wikimedia Commons