The news: Staying in a miserable relationship may be making you fat, according to science.
Researchers from Ohio State University have found being in a contentious relationship increases the chances of obesity by changing how the body reacts to fatty foods.
The science: The study asked 43 couples, all of whom had been married for at least three years, about their psychological history (depression, mood disorders) and their marriage satisfaction levels.
The researches then fed the couples a high-fat meal and instructed the couples to discuss and/or resolve one of the more combative issues between them. Researchers watched these discussions and classified the interactions as psychological abuse, distress-maintaining conversations, hostility or withdrawal.
The study found that people with a history of mood disorders who had hostile interactions with their partners burned fewer calories of the fatty meal they had just eaten and had more insulin in the blood.
"Insulin stimulates food intake and the accumulation of fat tissue in the abdomen," Martha Belury, co-author of the study, said at a conference. "And adding that on top of the lower energy expenditure creates a higher likelihood for obesity. But it doesn't stop there: Elevated triglycerides lead to heart disease. Along with high insulin, elevated triglicyerides indicate metabolism of sugars and fats is impaired. These are hallmarks of increased risk for heart disease and diabetes."
Simply put, a stressful marriage makes it easier to pack on the pounds.
Obesity's most commonly cited causes are a sedentary lifestyle , poor nutrition , predatory advertising and an overworked population without the time and energy to exercise, but this new finding shows detriments to health can be found in unlikely places. If you're in an unhappy relationship, leave. Your body will thank you for it.