Troubled Marriage and Depression Linked to Obesity

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
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    Photo by David Castillo Dominici


    I do not believe that too many people would challenge the contention that a difficult marriage might drive any husband or wife toward the refrigerator for a stress-reducing snack. Unfortunately, it stands to reason that more difficult the marriage is, the more likely there will be a high number of trips to the fridge. 


    Add to this mix a history of depression and the lure of comfort foods for relief, and we now have the potential for at least one plump spouse. Gravitating toward a much-loved appliance is only a piece of the puzzle though. Those adults who have a history of depression and a volatile marriage to boot are at increased risk for obesity because new research shows these dual problems alter how the body processes high-fat foods.

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    The Trouble With Trouble

    At least in this instance, problems lead to more problems. Researchers from Ohio State University have found that men and women who have a history of depression and engage in particularly heated arguments with spouses displayed a number of potential metabolic problems after eating a meal that is high in fat. It was discovered that these people burn fewer calories, had higher levels of insulin, and showed spikes in triglycerides after eating a heavy meal, compared to patients who did not have these risk factors.  

    On average, 118 fewer calories were burned by depressed people with marital discord seven hours after a meal, resulting in an average of a 12 pound weight gain over the course of a year. These problems also increase the risk for metabolic syndrome which increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes.    

    The Ohio State Study

    Researchers studied 43 couples ages 24 to 61 who had been married at least three years and examined how mood affected their metabolisms. The couples were given questionnaires and asked about a number of things. Among these questions were inquiries about past mood disorders.

    They were then fed high-fat meals which included eggs, turkey sausage, and biscuits and gravy that amounted to 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. Two hours after the couples finished the meal they were required to attempt to resolve difficult issues about in-laws, money and communication. It was discovered that those participants who had a history of depression and engaged in marital hostility had troubles with how the body processed the meal that had just been eaten.   

    Blood samples were taken and oxygen and carbon dioxide were measured as well. The couples who had a history of depression and who argued more severely with a spouse burned on average 31 fewer calories per hour and had 12 percent more insulin in their blood than participants who had less impassioned disagreements. The levels did not match those of other participants until two hours after eating.

    The elevated triglyceride and insulin levels that had been measured signaled a potential risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.            

    Living larger than ever,

    My Bariatric Life


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Published On: December 22, 2014