Stress, defined as a set of physiological reactions that appear when a person suffers a state of nervous or physical tension, is one of the main disorders that human beings currently suffer from. And of course also Stress affects appetite.
As such, this diagnosis has an absolute influence on every aspect of the patient’s life. For example, directly affecting his relationship with food and drink, that is, his entire diet.
For years, scientists have studied how stress impacts people’s diets and appetites. While there are those who experience this problem and can barely take a bite, many overeat.
How stress affects appetite
It is a fact that many people suffer from a significant increase in appetite when they are going through a stressful episode. In today’s increasingly hectic and dizzying life, anxiety becomes part of everyday life. The real problem appears when punctual stress becomes chronic stressmuch more difficult to control. The consequences of this type of sustained stress go beyond an increase in appetite and can significantly affect health.
The human being is prepared to assume specific moments of stress. In fact, these kinds of episodes are, on many occasions, necessary for quick decision-making. Nevertheless, When stress is chronic, a host of long-term problems arise.including lack of control when eating.
stress and food
Usually, people who suffer from chronic stress develop an unhealthy relationship with food. In addition to an increase in quantity, they also tend to select foods that do not provide any nutrients to the body. Those who have this behavior usually have a moment of pleasure and peace while consuming that food that they like so much.
On a physiological level, the increased appetite is very well justified. The reason is that stress causes an increase in cortisol, an essential hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. It is usually released as a response to anxiety and worry, leading to the consumption of unhealthy foods.
Specifically, a study published in 2006 by the journal Physiology and Behavior indicated that the majority of those who go through this behavioral abnormality end up consuming unhealthy foods, high in fat or sugar.
The explanation of the phenomenon is that in the moments in which we deal with stress our mind asks us to receive a dose of pleasure, and precisely these unhealthy foods are made with that intention. Given our weakness to such flavors, we are more likely to be tempted to ingest them.
Women more uncontrollable
That same report details that it is women who have the most inconveniences to eat healthily while going through stress, especially those who prior to the appearance of this problem tried to lose weight by following some type of hypocaloric diet. In them the so-called “emotional hunger” is even greater.
Apparently, in women the production of the hormone cortisol is higher and that is why they gain more weight when stressed. Paradoxically, the consumption of foods rich in sugars and fats reduces the body’s ability to respond to stress, thus generating a kind of harmful cycle for metabolism.