Washington: Stress is capable of packing a double hit as it can make you obese over time, but now a recent study suggests that if you want to avoid those extra kilos, then it's time to stop counting calories and simply relax.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) conducted the study on 2,527 men and women over the age of 50. They measured the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in two centimetre clippings of hair (about two months' growth).
After taking into account variations in age and sex as well as other factors like whether someone smokes or has diabetes, the researchers found that the higher the level of cortisol (ie. the more stressed someone was), the bigger the body weight, BMI and waist circumference of the person.
Having a higher level of cortisol was also linked to persistent obesity over time.
Lead author Sarah E. Jackson said that while we probably can't eliminate all stress from our lives, we might be able to find ways to control it: "Even just being aware that stress might make you eat more may help." The study appears in the journal Obesity.