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Does dieting make you stressed?

27 March 2002

Does dieting make you stressed?

A PSYCHOLOGY research group at Aston University in Birmingham has found that women who report that they are currently dieting to lose weight show a range of impairments in mental performance such as poorer memory, slower reaction times, inability to maintain attention and poorer planning ability. These effects are comparable in size and structure to those found with clinical depression and anxiety.

One possible explanation is that this is to do with the psychologically stressful effects of attempting to lose weight. Another explanation is that dieters have a low dietary intake of iron (mostly found in red meat). This would lead to lower blood levels of haemaglobin and, therefore, poorer flow of oxygen to the brain.

The research group, led by Dr Mike Green, are looking for more women to become involved in the research and are seeking volunteers aged between 18 and approximately 45 years. The research will track the participants over the course of two 8 week diets and assess mental performance, mood state and a number of biological factors over the course of these diets. Participants will diet on their own, diet as part of an organised diet group or be part of a non-dieting control group. All participants will be paid for taking part in the research, in addition to receiving regular information concerning their cholesterol and haemaglobin levels.

Anyone wishing to find out further information can contact Mike on 0121 359 3611 ext or email him at m.w.green@aston.ac.uk

ENDS

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

The results have proved consistent over the last 10 years in a project funded by the US Department of Agriculture.

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