Why a stressful meeting can make you reach for chocolate

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Scientists have found that stress alters the brain and impairs self-control.

This is why we sometimes reach for chocolate or for junk food after a stressful meeting, say Swiss researchers.

The study published in the journal Neuron found that people who’ve just been stressed are more likely to opt for unhealthy and tastier foods.

“Our findings provide an important step towards understanding the interactions between stress and self-control in the human brain,” says lead author Silvia Maier of the University of Zurich’s Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research.

The results of the study indicate that even low levels of stress can impair self-control.

This is important because moderate stress is more common than extreme events and will influence self-control choices more frequently and for a more people.

Maier says that much work still remains to be done to fully understand the mechanisms involved and to find out why some people are more resilient to stress than others.

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