Can Stress Make You Gain Weight? Teens and adults everywhere deal with stress, it’s very common in our generation. But do they know that stress can make pounds accumulate.

By: Nicole Zimmerman

Your stressed out for the big final you have tomorrow, you’ve studied and tried to relax but nothing is working for you. All you can feel is stressed. Then you realize you're “hungry” even though you ate dinner an hour ago. You run to the kitchen looking for something good to eat. You turn to a chocolate bar. You bite into it and realize that you feel more relieved now. Since the food is helping you feel less stressed you result in eating more and more such as chips and candy. Why is this?

Stressful Weight

Stress plays a role in weight gain, long-term ‘chronic’ stress boosts your hunger. Once your body reaches a certain stress level it does what it feels it needs to, which most times is to eat. Most of us become overeaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure because of this. Because your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t. And knowing America and our unhealthy habitats most of us are bound to chose fries over an apple. Your body thinks you need to replenish those calories. This is why stress plays a role in weight gain.

Tempting Right?

With so many options there's something for everyone.

With this many, there is so much to crave and binge on.

Is Sugar A Stress Reliever?

Yes, sugar is a stress reliever. Researchers and scientists have discovered that sugar reduces levels of cortisol; a stress hormone. There is a metabolic pathway in are bodies that is sensitive to sugar. This is why many people consume sweets in response to stress. And as said before sugar lowers cortisol levels in our body to help reduce stress. A experiment had been taking by The New York Times, in which to find out if sugar is a stress reliever. One group of women had been instructed to drink a beverage with table sugar and the other group of women were instructed to drink the same beverage but made with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. After 12 days of this, scientist had tested their saliva and taken MRI tests to see the difference between the two groups. Cortisol levels had been lower in the sugar consumers and higher in artificial sweetener consumers. Another difference between the two groups were that the sugar consuming group had increased activity in the areas of the brain that control fear and stress. The other group had decreased activity in those areas. Overall sugar is shown to benefit people stressed out.

Obesity And Stress

Higher levels of cortisol were associated with persistence of obesity over time. Researchers have acknowledge that they are unable to determine whether chronically high cortisol levels are a cause or consequence of obesity, But feeling fat for example, could raise your stress levels. And many people in America just don’t really care about their health and what they consume. 80 percent of adults don’t even get the recommended amount of exercise. Meaning there are many more causes of weight gain and obesity than stress. Some research suggests a gender difference in stress-coping behavior, with women being more likely to turn to food and men to alcohol or smoking.

Ways To Control Stressful Eating

The lead author, Sara Jackson, an epidemiologist at University College London, said “While it may not be possible to eliminate stress, you may be able to find ways to control it. Even just being aware that stress might make you eat more may help.” As Sarah said you can’t necessarily eliminate stress, but you can be aware of it. If more people in the world were aware of the fact that stress can lead to weight gain, there would not be as much obesity linked to to America. Emotional eating provides a release from discomfort, providing a momentary sense of satisfaction when you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel, most times stress. Overeating has a numbing, softening effect on our unwanted sentiments, and takes our attention away from them. The key to ending this pattern is to not abandon yourself when your emotions go crazy, but instead to allow yourself to feel them. Another thing is to only eat when you’re actually hungry. This is very important. Sometimes it might be hard to know when you actually are, so it may help if you remember what time you ate last at so you can consider when to eat next at the appropriate time.

Emotional Eating

Stressful eating can also be linked to emotional eating. Emotional eating happens more than you would think. Food companies constantly strive to make a connection between food and emotion. In order to create appeal, food marketing promises an emotional benefit beyond the food itself, such as comfort, excitement, belonging, and more. Some marketer’s job can be to make these connections even more compelling and convincing, by fueling our collective belief that eating certain foods provides the people with emotional satisfaction. Most emotional eating is because of a problem that has occurred in their lives. Many of these problem include breakups/relationship problems, feeling guilty over something, etc. Almost everyone in their lives will emotional eat one time or another.

Knowledge To Take Away

"It's perfectly human to want to avoid pain and seek relief," says Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietitian,. "Stress eating usually happens when we want to disconnect from the moment. It's like changing the channel in our brain to try to change how we feel," she explains. This is why food is such a salve for stress. It’s ok once in a while to take a break and eat a little more unhealthy, I know that many people do this, especially on vacation. It’s just knowing where and when to do it. You just have to do it in regulation keeping your health on mind.

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