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Effects of food on cortisol and mood in vulnerable subjects under controllable and uncontrollable stress

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Author: Markus, R. · Panhuysen, G. · Tuiten, A. · Koppeschaar, H.
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Physiology & Behavior, 3-4, 70, 333-342
Identifier: 72028
doi: doi:10.1016/S0031-9384(00)00265-1
Keywords: Nutrition · Medicine · Geneeskunde · Health · Gezondheid · Dietetics · Voedingsleer · Controllability · Cortisol · Depressive mood · Food · Stress · Vulnerability · Hydrocortisone · Adult · Coping behavior · Dietary intake · Drug effect · Female · Food intake · Hormone response · Human · Insulin release · Major clinical study · Male · Mental stress · Mood · Neurotransmitter release · Priority journal · Serotonin brain level · Serotoninergic system · Adult · Affect · Diet · Dietary Carbohydrates · Dietary Proteins · Female · Food · Galvanic Skin Response · Human · Hydrocortisone · Male · Neuropsychological Tests · Pulse · Questionnaires · Saliva · Stress, Psychological


The aim of this study was to investigate whether in stress-prone subjects, carbohydrate-rich, protein-poor food (CR/PP) diminished depressive mood and a cortisol response under controllable as well as uncontrollable laboratory stress. Twenty-two subjects with high stress proneness (HS) and 23 subjects with low stress proneness (LS) participated in a controllable- and uncontrollable-stress experiment during either a CR/PP or protein-rich, carbohydrate-poor (PR/CP) diet. Both controllable and uncontrollable laboratory stress significantly increased pulse rate and skin conductance in HS and LS subjects, whereas uncontrollable stress increased feelings of depression, anger, tension, and fatigue and decreased feelings of vigor. Only in HS subjects, a cortisol response and feelings of depression became lower under the CR/PP diet condition, irrespective of the controllability of the laboratory stressor, suggesting an increased ability to cope with stress. Because the CR/PP diet compared with the PR/CP diet previously has been found to cause a 42% increase in plasma tryptophan/ΣLNAA, seen as an indirect measure of increases in brain serotonin levels, the present results suggest that an enhanced serotonin function in HS subjects may be involved. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. Chemicals/CAS: Anti-Bacterial Agents; Nisin, 1414-45-5c