Simple Palate: The Junk Food Excuse

By Cielestia Calbay

A bag of Cheetos a day keeps the stress away.

Or so suggests a new study that found elevated levels of salt in the body lower stress hormones and raise levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with love and other social relationships.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, was conducted on a group of rats and studied their response to a stressful situation.

The rats were tied down and their stress levels were measured depending on how much salt they had in their systems.

Researchers found that when restrained, rats with high salt level, also called hypernatremic, showed less activity in their brain’s stress systems compared to the rats with normal salt levels.

Additionally, the hypernatremic rats had elevated levels of oxytocin – an element associated with social feelings such as love and is also known for its role in forming bonds between individuals.


Cielestia Calbay is the associate editor of Competitor Magazine. If she’s not at the office, you’ll probably find her outdoors or scouring the area for the nearest juice bar. She may be reached at or @ccalbay

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