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Stress Can Eradicate Good Fats' Health Benefits In Women, Study Warns

Stress Can Eradicate Good Fats' Health Benefits In Women, Study Warns

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 02:30 AM EDT
Stressed woman
A new study finds that stress may negate the benefits of eating healthy fats. MasimbaTinasheMadondo / Pixabay CC0

Studies have shown that there is, actually, something good in fats and that "good fats" should be included in one's diet. However, a recent study suggests that even when you choose to consume healthy fats in the diet, having a stressful day can erase all of its health benefits.

"It's more evidence that stress matters," says lead author Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus. She mentioned that the study is the very first to show how stress can eliminate the benefits of a healthier form of fats.

According to UPI, Kiecolt-Glaser also said that past research showed that saturated fats have been linked to several health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis and a host of other health problems. "Inflammation is now looking like it's associated with a lot of the nasty diseases of aging," she said. "It's like a catalog of what you don't want in your life."

For their study, Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues did a study in about 60 women, 38 of whom survived breast cancer. The average age of women in the study was 53 years old. Medical News Today reported that on two separate days, the participants stopped by the university and were randomly assigned to eat one of two breakfasts: biscuits and gravy with eggs and turkey sausage that was mostly made with saturated fat from palm oil or the same kind of breakfast made mostly with monounsaturated sunflower oil.

After that, they were asked to answer a questionnaire about their stress levels basing on their experiences from the day before. "It's an interview that separates out minor frustrations from events that are more meaningful and more likely to produce physiological changes related to stress," Kiecolt-Glaser said. Blood samples were collected several times while they were at the university and authors of the study took note of four different markers: two that are connected with inflammation (C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A) and two that may determine the risk of plaque forming in the arteries.

Results revealed that all four harmful markers were elevated in women who consumed the meal containing saturated fats compared to the breakfast that used sunflower oil. However, those women who had a stressful day showed that the health benefits linked to the healthy fat choice had disappeared. "If they were stressed, it wiped out all the good stuff," Kiecolt-Glaser said, reported Yahoo News.

Meanwhile, researchers said that they particularly chose the meal they used for the study since it showed the same high-calorie, high-fat, and fast-food meal. Both breakfasts had 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, which is likened to a Big Mac and medium fries.

Study's co-author, Martha Belury explained that they are aware of 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 also said that the research is gearing toward reduced inflammation as a major health benefit of eating healthier food.

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