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Stress and Body fat

Ask Mira : Eating Right to Live Happy & Healthy

The rapid pace of modern life has led to an increase in stress among people everywhere. Some people appear to handle stress well, while in others it could lead to depression and other mental and physical illnesses.

Whether we are stressed because of constant and pressing demands at work, home, or when confronted by a new situation or life condition, our body reacts with a ‘fight or flight’ response — by addressing the issue vigorously or turning away from it.

However, the question we are tackling today is not about how we respond to stress, but rather, whether stress makes us gain weight?

There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, a stress hormone that is released when we stress out.

Unfortunately, this hormone also contributes to weight gain in the following ways:

Cravings: Did you ever see someone stressing out and binging on a nice salad to relax? That is not a likely scenario, as people experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. Typical examples include sweets, fast foods, more bread, pasta, in other words, mainly foods containing a lot of carbohydrates and fat to increase serotonin, the brain hormone associated with happiness and wellbeing. These foods will definitely lead to an increase in body weight.

High blood sugar: Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level). Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, an important health concern that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.

High fat storage: Excessive stress even increases our fat storage in the fat adipose tissues. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat, which unfortunately, is not only undesirable, but also linked to serious health risks.

Metabolism: A lot of people think that stressing out leads to a higher metabolism, and that is the reason they eat more. But the truth is too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience.

Emotional eating and stress are no doubt connected in a way, and the big reason we are seeing more obesity in our society is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy food choices.

Instead of stressing out, try treating your stress with physical activity.


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