New study: Stress lowers your metabolism


Todays’s post will be quite short but very interesting. It’s about a new study showing that stress significantly lowers your resting energy expenditure and fat clearance after a meal. The work comes from Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and her group in Ohio, and I am sure there will be many more investigations into this highly interesting topic.

What they found was that women who reported a large number of stressful events within the last 24 hours had significantly lower resting energy expenditure following a meal. The effect was equivalent to 100 kcal over a 6 h period, which (in theory) adds up to about 5 kg per year of adipose tissue.

Those who experienced more stress also had lower lipid clearance after a meal, and higher levels of cortisol and insulin, which helps to promote appetite, weight gain and abdominal obesity.  

This study clearly indicates that the rampant levels of stress we have created for ourselves plays a huge role in the obesity epidemic, and that we need to do something about this if we are to successfully help prevent new cases of obesity. It also indicates a powerful role of reducing stress levels in terms of inducing lasting weight loss. 

On that note, I hope you have a nice stress-free weekend.



Kiecolt-Glaser et al. Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: a novel path for obesity. Biol Psychiatry 2014, epub 14 July.