Recently, a group of Canadian nutritionists came up with the idea that too much thinking and doing lots of intellectual work is linked to consuming more calories and gaining weight. The specialists at the Universite Laval in Quebec, leaded by Dr Angelo Tremblay, made a series of experiments and supervised the food intake of a number of local students. It turned out that the stress of thinking makes the majority of us seek meal and, in the worst cases, cause overeating and weight gain.

Intellectual WorkThe volunteers were split into 3 groups. The students from the first group were simply relaxing and having rest in sitting position. The second group of students were offered to do some easy thinking, namely to read and summarize a text. At the same time, all members of the third group were assigned to complete serious attention and memory tests in a computer class. After 45 minutes of the stated activities, all the students were invited to a dining-hall where they could eat as much as they wanted to.

It was determined before that every session of intellectual work was connected with spending only three more calories if compared with the rest period. However, it turned out the the students from the second group (reading and summarizing) consumed 203 more calories, and the members of the third group (tests in computers) consumed 253 more calories. That can count as respectively 23.6% and 29.4% increase compared with the results of the first group (rest). In addition, with the help of blood tests (before, during and after the experiments) it was possible to find out that intellectual work is linked to greater fluctuations of insulin and glucose levels in the blood.

The scientists were quite surprised to receive such results. “Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries,” one of the researchers commented.  According to the specialist, this discovery should not be ignored since a large number of people have the jobs connected with intellectual work rather than physical activities. The findings of this scientific experiment were published in spring 2009 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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