One might think that stress eating is only an excuse, but it holds a truth behind the cover. Stress hormones push the people to overeat, given the unleashing of desire to eat comfort food, with higher fat or sugar ratio. According to Harvard Medical College, stress can lead to weight gain, and one out of every fourth American rate their stress level at eight on a scale of ten.
The short-term impact could be the reduction in appetite as the nervous system pushes the kidneys to create adrenaline. This hormone will trigger the fight-or-flight response that can halt the appetite. On the other hand, if the stress prevails on a long-term basis, cortisol hormone is secreted that enhances the appetite and the motivation to eat.
After the elimination of the stress period, the cortisol levels tend to fall, but if the stress is long-term, the stress response will be deemed on, leading to elevated levels of cortisol. In this article, we are sharing information about how stress and hunger are associated.
Stress Eating & Hunger
Believe it or not, stress can directly impact food choices. For instance, the emotional and physical stress demands an incremented intake of sugary and fatty foods. Usually, higher cortisol and insulin levels are responsible. Some researches blame the hunger hormone, known as ghrelin, for this incremented intake during the stress period.
Once the food is ingested, the stressful emotions and relative responses dampen out. Now, it wouldn’t be wrong to call them the comfort food, but it often leads to craving whenever stress levels are induced. But again, overeating is not the only stress-induced activity because stressed people consume more than usual alcohol, insomnia, and fewer exercises, which can lead to excess weight.
Reason Behind Stress Eating
This is an important point to understand because some researches have lined out a difference in stress-coping mechanisms as per the gender. For instance, women go to overeating while men are likely to smoke and consume alcohol. According to the Finnis study, more than 5,000 people struggled with stress-induced obesity (inclusive of men and women).
As per the Harvard research, work stress and family issues can induce weight gain. However, this happened to the people who were already overweight. One theory suggests a higher insulin level in overweight people and directly impacts stress-related weight gain patterns. In this case, one has to think about the development of cortisol during the stress period.
Relieving Stress Without Overeating
When stress starts impacting the waistline, the weight gain process is incremented by the frequent fridge raids for sugary and fatty foods. But hey, it’s only inviting trouble, and we have lined out better suggestions to cope with stress;
Science backs up the fact that meditation can lead to reduced stress levels with the association with heart issues and blood pressure. Meditation also impacts the food choice because people gain the willpower to ditch the high sugar content food.
The cortisol levels are dependent on the exercise duration and the intensity of exercise. With this being said, regular exercise can fade out the stress impacts. We suggest tai chi and yoga because they are a combined form of meditation and exercise.
Eating The Right Food For Reducing Stress Levels
We understand that Chinese food boxes are alluring you, but you mustn’t fall in the trap because it’s comfort food. While you feel stressed and get a food craving, switching to the following food items will play a positive role;
- Brazil Nuts – the availability of high selenium level will improve the mood and reduces anxiety
- Fatty Fish – the fishes like trout, salmon, herring, and mackerel have high omega-3 content that fights the negative mental health signals and promises better mood
- Eggs – they are rich in vitamin D, protein, and amino acids responsible for serotonin development. Serotonin helps in regulating memory, sleep, and helps optimize the mood