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Stress Eating Roundup

August 11, 2006

A type of hamster overeats when stressed, just like many of us.


Eating tips from pudgy hamsters. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Obesity researchers would like to know why people overeat when they’re stressed out. But they can’t use lab rats to study the problem; when they’re stressed, they stop eating and get skinny. Now scientists have discovered that Syrian hamsters, like people, pig out when they’re stressed and put on extra fat around their middles. Georgia State University scientists are now studying these hamsters to discover new ways to battle the weight gain.

In other weight-related news. University of Florida researchers have found that cutting just a few calories from a rat’s diet can significantly reduce age-related cell damage. Other research had shown that big cuts in calories would slow aging, but this study trimmed their diet by only eight percent. In humans, it would mean cutting about 200 calories.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.