Monday December 9, 2019

Researchers Claim, High-Calorie Food Intake in Stress Can Lead To Grater Weight Gain

To understand what controls this 'stress eating', the researchers investigated different areas of the brain in mice. 

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According to the findings published in the journal-Cell Metabolism, some individuals eat less when they are stressed but most will increase their food intake -- and crucially, the intake of calorie-dense food high in sugar and fat. Pixabay

Eating too much high-calorie food is anyway bad for health but under stress, sugary and high-fat diet can lead to more weight gain than in normal situations, says a study.

During an experiment on mice, the team discovered that a high-calorie diet when combined with stress resulted in more weight gain than the same diet caused in a stress-free environment.

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The scientists discovered that chronic stress alone raised the blood insulin levels only slightly but in combination with a high-calorie diet, the insulin levels were 10 times higher than mice that were stress-free and received a normal diet. Pixabay

“This study indicates that we have to be much more conscious about what we’re eating when we’re stressed, to avoid a faster development of obesity,” said Professor Herbert Herzog said, Head of the Eating Disorders laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in New South Wales (NSW).

According to the findings published in the journal-Cell Metabolism, some individuals eat less when they are stressed but most will increase their food intake — and crucially, the intake of calorie-dense food high in sugar and fat.

To understand what controls this ‘stress eating’, the researchers investigated different areas of the brain in mice.

While food intake is mainly controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, another part of the brain — the amygdala — processes emotional responses, including anxiety.

weigh loss
During an experiment on mice, the team discovered that a high-calorie diet when combined with stress resulted in more weight gain than the same diet caused in a stress-free environment. Pixabay

The scientists discovered that chronic stress alone raised the blood insulin levels only slightly but in combination with a high-calorie diet, the insulin levels were 10 times higher than mice that were stress-free and received a normal diet.

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“We were surprised that insulin had such a significant impact on the amygdala,” said Professor Herzog.

“It’s becoming more and more clear that insulin doesn’t only impact peripheral regions of the body but that it regulates functions in the brain. We’re hoping to explore these effects further in future,” Herzog added. (IANS)

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Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

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Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)