Can Thinking Make You Fat?

All of that studying just might have contributed to your Freshman Fifteen

Thinking Fat

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With about half of the United States' workforce classified as "white collar", a new study out of Canada is relevant food for thought-- but don't think about it too much! The study, which examined calories consumed after participants completed various intellectually challenging activities, determined that test subjects ate more after finishing more strenuous intellectual activities than when they finished intellectual activities that were less demanding.

Can thinking really make you fat? The Universite Laval study indicates that, although intellectual work sessions expended only three more calories than non-intellectual work sessions, those who thought more indeed also ate more, post-activity. In fact, participants who took on the challenging intellectual tasks consumed up to 29.4 percent more calories than those who did not.

One reason for this behavioral discrepancy could be chemical: more grueling intellectual work corresponded with greater fluctuations of glucose and insulin in the body. These findings raise questions regarding whether the brain, after being taxed, attempts to replenish its energy (glucose) through urging the body to eat more.

Before you gear up to blame any excess weight on your superior intellectual activity, remember that the basic equation of too many calories plus not enough movement still equals weight gain. Clearly, though, it's best not to think about it too much, and instead just go work out.