Arguments Can Cause Weight Gain

Couple fighting

Nx86xdrewssexybody-3Written by: Kirsten Cowart

If you are having relationship issues with someone that is leading to arguments, you may be at risk for overeating and therefore weight gain. Arguing was nothing new for the 43 couples that participated in a recent study about how fighting among married couples affects eating and appetite.  

These arguments helped researchers like Lisa Jaremka, who is an assistant professor of psychology and brain sciences at the University of Delaware, obtain insight into the link between overeating and arguments.  

How Stress Affects Diet And Appetite

Jaremka worked with 6 collaborators from the Ohio State University’s College of Medicine to see how social stress affects eating. The study, which was published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, showed us that having a hostile argument between married people often was followed by the brain releasing the ghrelin hormone.  

This hormone tells the body “I’m hungry” and will urge you to begin eating. This hormone was only released in people who were at a healthy weight or overweight. It seemed to have no effect on people who were already obese, which may be because brain signals are often already disrupted in obese individuals. The results were the same regardless of gender.   

Researchers aren’t sure if hostility and arguments actually cause hunger or bad diet choices, but there is definitely a strong correlation that cannot be ignored.  

Marital Or Relationship Problems May Result In Health Problems

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, it may be time to get some help or guidance about the situation. If you are finding that you have a strong pull to eat unhealthy or make poor choices after being around someone, it may be a sign that things have gotten bad between you.

Comfort Food

Jaremka also was able to test a theory she has had since she was in graduate school that relationship problems and rejection can make people feel hungry. This hunger may push them towards pleasure eating and social isolation.

In the western diet, comfort food is often filled with salt, sugar and fat. All of these foods can cause weight gain and health problems.  

Foods that are high in fat have been linked to people losing control and overeating.  Social stress could trigger the hormone that makes you want to eat unhealthy, which in turn could trigger the consumption of foods high in fat. Those fatty foods can disrupt brain signals, triggering overeating, which can lead to weight gain and health problems.

Healthy Relationships Are Necessary For Healthy Bodies

When you evaluate the data, it shows us that there is a strong correlation between your emotional health and your physical health. In order to stay balanced, healthy and keep excess weight off, it would be wise to evaluate your relationships.  

Do you often find yourself arguing or fighting with the people you are around?  Perhaps learning more about how to have balanced relationships will help you develop healthy eating habits.  

Science is uncovering new connections every day between our mind, body and emotional health. In order to be truly healthy, you must find balance in all areas of life.

Have you noticed a pattern of unhealthy eating after experiencing rejection or getting into an argument? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.  


University of Delaware. “Link between marital distress, poor food choices found by study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2015. <>.

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
Kirsten Campbell
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