It’s no secret that life can be challenging. There are plenty of things that we have to deal with, both professionally and personally. Sometimes these challenges can put a lot of stress on us. While it would be nice to be able to physically remove the stress, sometimes that’s not possible. That’s why we have to find other ways to deal with it.
One way that we deal with stress is by changing our eating habits. This is especially beneficial for those that are overweight or obese as it helps to shed off some of the extra pounds. There are actually some pretty interesting facts about how stress affects our eating habits. Let’s take a look.
Stress Makes Us Eat More
One of the most interesting things about how stress affects our eating habits is that it makes us eat more. A 2018 study from North Carolina State University found that those that are under a lot of stress are more likely to consume high calorie foods. The study also determined that this heightened appetite can lead to weight gain. The researchers concluded that stress-induced eating is a possible mechanism underlying the link between stress and obesity.
The study showed that those that were under a great deal of stress were more likely to binge eat, snack or eat more overall when compared to those that were less stressed. One possible reason for this could be that when we’re under a lot of stress, our bodies naturally release the hormone cortisol. This hormone has been linked to increased appetite in other studies. It also causes us to experience a greater sense of pleasure when we consume food. Therefore, it’s not surprising that those that are under a lot of stress would eat more.
Our Appetite Can Increase Rapidly
Another interesting thing about how stress affects our eating habits is that our appetite can increase rapidly. A study from the United Kingdom assessed how different stress levels affected appetite in participants. The researchers looked at cortisol levels in saliva as a measure of stress. They found that the appetite of those that were under a great deal of stress increased by 60 percent compared to those that were under moderate stress or no stress at all. The results of this study suggest that our appetite can increase rapidly in response to even small amounts of stress. It’s possible that this is one of the reasons why those that are under a lot of stress tend to gain weight quickly.
Stress Caused Weight Gain Is More Than Just Eating
Eating is one of the ways that we deal with stress, but it’s certainly not the only one. Those that are overweight or obese and experience a lot of stress are more likely to have other health problems that contribute to the weight gain. A number of studies have shown that there is a link between stress and type 2 diabetes. People that are under a lot of stress are also at an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. These are just some of the health problems that arise from chronic stress. Eating healthy food and losing weight is the best way to combat these health problems.
Eating well and staying active are both necessary for combating stress. Not everyone will agree with this view, but it’s important to recognize that there are many different ways that we can deal with stress. We don’t always need to eat to feel better. Sometimes it’s necessary to physically remove ourselves from a situation that is causing us stress. In some cases, it may be helpful to speak to a professional. Whatever the case may be, it’s always important to find a way to overcome the stress.