Another day, another study. Today, it seems, the reason you might have gained a few pounds is not down to the jam-filled donuts you’ve been smuggling in your handbag but rather, because you’ve been fighting with your other half. Yes, that does sound a little outlandish but let’s stick with the hypothesis for a moment.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, via The Independent, a new study has concluded that couples whose relationships are filled with tension and a near constant stream of arguments burn fewer calories than those of us still in the honeymoon period, and are therefore at a higher risk of gaining weight and, worryingly, developing obesity.
Though it may sound a tenuous link, here’s the science behind it: The more couples row, the more susceptible they are to metabolic issues as the constant arguing is said to alter how their bodies process high fat foods. The researchers gave 43 married couples raging in age between 24 to 61, a meal to enjoy. The meal contained 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. From there, they were asked to discuss common topics that can cause arguments with each other, such as money and, unsurprisingly conflicts with in-laws. These couples, we should note, have all been married over 3 years.
The researchers then monitored how their bodies processed their meals, learning that those under constant strain from relationship troubles burned fewer calories per hour than those who could resolve issues with ease. They also noted that those with a history of depression and other mood disorders experienced the same metabolic pattern.
“Meals provide prime opportunities for ongoing disagreements in a troubled marriage, so there could be a long-standing pattern of metabolic damage stemming from hostility and depression” the lead researcher, Jan Kiecolt-Glaser from Ohio State University, explained.
“These findings not only identify how chronic stressors can lead to obesity, but also point to how important it is to treat mood disorders. Interventions for mental health clearly could benefit physical health as well.”