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Stress, Depression, and Metabolism: Replies to Bohan Brown et al. and Barton and Yancy

Published:December 08, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.11.021
      We recently reported adverse metabolic alterations related to stress and depression following high-fat meals (
      • Kiecolt-Glaser J.K.
      • Habash D.
      • Fagundes C.P.
      • Andridge R.
      • Peng J.
      • Malarkey W.B.
      • et al.
      Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: A novel path to obesity.
      ). In their response our article, Bohan Brown et al. (
      • Bohan Brown M.M.
      • Bown A.W.
      • Allison D.B.
      Linear extrapolation results in erroneous overestimation of plausible stressor-related yearly weight changes.
      ) raise an interesting question related to our caloric calculations; they suggest that the differences we observed would translate to a gain of 6.4 lb/year compared with the 10.8 lb/year that we had computed based on the 3500 kcal rule. Their argument is based on newer literature that has primarily addressed decreased caloric expenditure as weight loss occurs, but we acknowledge that the state of the field is such that we cannot calculate the total caloric impact over time with certainty.
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      Linked Article

      • Linear Extrapolation Results in Erroneous Overestimation of Plausible Stressor-Related Yearly Weight Changes
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 78Issue 4
        • Preview
          We appreciate the enthusiasm of Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (1) for investigating depression and daily stressors as putative contributors to obesity. However, the use of the linear extrapolation known as the “3500 kcal rule” erroneously estimates the expected weight change contribution of these factors to obesity. The 3500 kcal rule is an estimation of the calorie amount required to cause 1 lb of weight change that is frequently, but erroneously, used to calculate weight loss or gain from changes in energy intake and expenditure (2).
        • Full-Text
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      • Determining the Culprit: Stress, Fat, or Carbohydrates
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 78Issue 4
        • Preview
          The article by Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (1) suggests that a high-fat diet in the setting of depression or recent life stressors leads to weight gain via decreased metabolic rate and increased hormonal influences on fat storage. This study gives insight into an interesting relationship between stress and energy expenditure, but we believe that the label “high-fat” may perpetuate a negative, and not necessarily true, association with this type of diet and weight gain. Carbohydrates are another class of macronutrients that are implicated in slowing metabolism and leading to obesity.
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