You’re tired, you’re stressed out, and all you really want to do is eat an entire gallon of ice cream and enjoy a bottle of wine. But that’d be super bad for you—at least worse than eating healthy, right? Well, turns out, maybe not…
A recent study from The Ohio State University suggests that stress might cancel out any potential benefits of healthy fats (such as nuts, salmon, avocados, coconut oil and more).
So what does that mean?
Basically, when you’re stressed, your body handles a healthy meal of salmon the same way it handles a large order of greasy cheese fries with bacon.
The bad news? Stress eliminates the positives of eating healthy fats. The good news? I mean, c’mon, like you even needed an excuse to eat junk food.
The study, recently published in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry, was led by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology who directs the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
In a press release, Kiecolt-Glaser explained, “It’s more evidence that stress matters.” Yeah, we definitely know that’s true.
So what can you do about stress? Kiecolt-Glaser told NPR, “Close, personal relationships are perhaps the world’s greatest stress reducer.”
The study included 58 women (38 breast cancer survivors and 20 others) with an average age of 53 years old. As Science Daily explains:
Unstressed women who ate a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast made mostly with saturated fat fared worse in blood tests looking for precursors to disease than those women who ate an identical breakfast made primarily with monounsaturated sunflower oil.
But when women in the study had a stressful event before the breakfast test, the hardships of the previous day appeared to erase any benefits linked to the healthy fat choice, say researchers from The Ohio State University.
Nonetheless, be careful before you wolf down that entire box of Oreos.
Human nutrition professor and the study’s co-author, Martha Belury, argued that you shouldn’t take this as a free pass to grub on whatever you want when you’re feeling stressed. Instead, she sees it as a reminder of why it’s important to make healthier choices every single day, so when the stress does hit you’ll be at a better starting point.
Yeah, we’ll let you take that approach. We just ordered pizza. It’s been a stressful day, okay?