Arguments between spouses may be causing weight gain according to a new study by the Ohio State University.
The research has discovered that males and females with a previous history of depression who experienced heated arguments with their partners burned fewer calories after a meal than those couples who argued less.
This reduction in calories burnt translated to a weight gain of 12 pounds a year.
What did the study involve?
The study involved 43 healthy couples aged between 24 and 61, who had been married for over 3 years each.
These couples were asked to complete a number of questionnaires that included questions on how satisfied they were with their marriage and whether they had experienced any depression or mood disorders in the past.
Over the course of the 2-day study the couples were given eggs, turkey sausage, savoury biscuits made from dough, and gravy.
These meals were meant to mimic the calorie and nutrient content of a popular fast food option such as the Burger King double whopper with cheese or a Big Mac and medium fries.
Two hours after their meal the participants of the study were asked to discuss and resolve any issues that the researchers felt would cause conflict between the couples. These issues often included money, communication and their in-laws.
During the resulting arguments the participants were filmed, with any psychological abuse, distress, hostility or withdrawal being categorised.
During this time, from 20 minutes up to 7 hours after the meal the energy expenditure of the couples was also measured by using equipment that could measure the inhaled and exhaled airflow of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Blood samples were also drawn at various points after the meals to measure glucose, insulin and triglycerides, comparing them to baseline levels.
What were the results of the study?
The results of the study were pretty conclusive with those participants who had previously struggled with a mood disorder and experienced more hostile arguments burned an average of 31 fewer calories per hour than those from a less hostile marriage.
These same participants also had an average of 12% more insulin present in their blood, showing a higher ability to store fat, which means they are more likely to gain weight.
Can arguing be bad for your heart?
Along with this study showing that arguing can lead to weight gain, another study undertaken at the University of Utah has shown that arguing can also be bad for your heart.
Their research suggests that those couples who are sometimes supportive but also occasionally upsetting had higher levels of artery calcification, which suggests that the arteries were diseased and they were at a greater risk of premature death.