Could eating too much fast food ruin your relationship? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Could eating too much fast food ruin your relationship?

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CHATTANOOGA -

(WRCB) - The Gebara family doesn't get to spend many nights at home playing video games together. Between piano lessons and flute lesson and ballet classes, they're always on the go. Which usually means dinner is too.

"It's not uncommon to hit a couple of different drive-throughs throughout the course of the day, depending on who's in the car and what direction we're going," Tammy Gebara says.

A hectic schedule like that can put a strain on any couple, but now researchers want to know how the food they eat feeds into that.

"When people are already stressed and you're eating a bad diet, those may interact and make things much worse," Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser from Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center says.

To find out just how food affects couples, a married couple is conducting a spicy new study.

Ronald Glaser and his wife are leading the study and here's how it works.

Couples come in and are treated to two meals, one is high in saturated fats, and the other isn't.

Their blood is checked for stress markers. Then things get interesting. The couple is asked to discuss sensitive subjects, like money or their partners annoying habits. That usually gets stress levels up or in scientific terms, elevates stress proteins, called cytokines.

"They have come back down again, because that's part of what they're supposed to do. But if they don't and you have chronic elevations of these cytokines, that's when you have health risks," Dr. Ronald Glaser explains.

In other words, the discussion might cause stress levels to go up, but it may be the high fat food that keeps it there.

And if stress levels stay too high for too long, experts theorize that it not only leads to an unhealthy lifestyle, but could ultimately make your partners differences just too hard to swallow.

Chronic stress has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. Over the next few months researchers will follow dozens of couples to see how their diets impact the health of their relationships.

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