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The double whammy of stress and poor diet

Readers have likely heard that there may be health risks associated with being overweight. That’s bad news, of course, for more than two-thirds of the American adult population who fit that description. Some of the conditions that may be linked to unhealthy or excessive diet include cardiac disease, diabetes and cancer.

A recent article suggests that improving one’s diet may require more than just a new grocery list. Instead, a change in attitude may be required. The cultural emphasis in workplaces in New Jersey and across the country for working through lunch, or grabbing a bite to eat, often results in poor nutritional choices, such as fast food or even a vending machine selection.

Coupled with that poor nutrition is the stress of being rushed, trying to meet deadlines over the lunch hour. Unfortunately, the stress response -- which produces a hormone called cortisol -- may slow metabolism. People may also overeat when they are under pressure. The irony of that approach is that long-term stress and poor dietary and other lifestyle choices, all in the name of being more time efficient in the workplace, may ultimately render an individual with a disability that prevents him or her from working. The pursuit of monetary gains today, at the cost of wellness, may leave an individual unable to work, surviving only on Social Security disability insurance payments. A recent article contrasts the American fast food epidemic with European approaches to cuisine. Think of the French: even without wine, the French take time to savor their meal, at least in the writer’s eyes.

Source:, “Positively Beautiful: There’s more to metabolism,” Dr. Susan Mathison, June 27, 2013

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