I'm Not Fat, I'm Just Smart

The stress of thinking makes people overeat, potentially making "heavy thinkers" obese, according to a new report.

Researchers from the Universite Laval in Quebec had 14 students relax while sitting, read and summarize a passage, and perform tests on a computer, then offered them as much food as they wanted. Even though the intellectual tasks only required 3 more calories than relaxing, the students ate more than 200 calories after summarizing the text and performing the tests. Researchers say the overeating may have been motivated by stress, or because the subjects were trying to restore glucose, which the brain uses for fuel. "Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries," said lead researcher Jean-Philippe Chaput. [UPI]