It is well known that stress can lead to weight gain, usually after reaching for a chocolate bar or a glass of wine following a long day. But it is not just comfort eating that is to blame. Our own bodies work against us to build up fat when we are under pressure.
Researchers have found stress triggers a hormone called Adamts1 which generates fat cells in the body, raising someone’s risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The new evidence that a stressful job can make you fat comes from Stanford University School of Medicine. Senior author Dr Brian Feldman, assistant professor of paediatrics, said it is the stress hormones which encourage fat cells to become mature, “We think it is a signal that there may be hard times ahead, a trigger to store as much available energy as you can. We didn’t know what was gating or triggering that process in vivo (in the body). This new research goes a long way to fill in the in-between steps.”
The research follows a 2015 study showing that a job which becomes demanding can make you fat. That was because workplace stress led to poor diet and comfort eating, with University College London finding people in this situation were 20% more likely to become dangerously overweight.