Effects of marriage on your appetite

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In a study of 43 couples, researchers showed a connection between marital stress and poor food choices.

Health expert, Karen Owoc, explained how your marriage can affect your appetite and your eating patterns.

Karen says the couples agreed to participate for two days. Each session was 9 1/2 hours long. They ate a meal together and tried to resolve one or more conflicts in their marriage.

As a part of the study, the couples had to respond to questions and agree to take blood tests and collecting data. Researchers at the University of Delaware and Ohio State University College of Medicine found that hostile marital arguments caused a surge in ghrelin — the “I’m hungry” hormone.

Ghrelin is primarily released in the stomach and signals your brain when it’s time to eat.

As a result, distressed partners (both husband and wife) sought food that was typically higher in fat, sugar and/or salt — typically poorer quality food, but what many might consider “comfort food”.

Karen says arguments or underlying hostility do not cause hunger or poor food choices, but there is a pretty significant link between the two.

Typical Comfort Foods for Women: 

  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Cookies, cakes, candy

Typical Comfort Foods for Men:

  • Chips
  • Steak
  • Pizza
  • Casseroles (e.g., mac ’n cheese, lasagna)

The results of this study are helpful in understanding how marital difficulties can lead to unhealthy weight and resultant health problems.

Karen says this study exemplifies that there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” weight loss program.

To lose weight, you need a personalized intervention and treatment plan that underscores a lifetime of good nutrition, exercise and stress management. Find a clinician who is empathetic to your physiological triggers.

It’s essential that you understand the relationship between you and your spouse — what could be the fundamental key to your successful weight loss.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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