Does Stress Really Lead To Overeating?

Health 2022
Does Stress Really Lead To Overeating?
Does Stress Really Lead To Overeating?

Video: Does Stress Really Lead To Overeating?

Video: Pandemic stress and anxiety can lead to overeating, Study suggests 2022, November
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Every day we face situations which can disrupt our physical and psychological well-being. Stress negatively affects your well-being and often leads to the development of serious illnesses. In the modern world, this phenomenon is being fought in all available ways - from meditation and a mood diary in a smartphone application to sessions with a psychoanalyst. Other methods do not give a quick result, while our body prefers to cope with stress here and now.

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When we are nervous, the brain puts the body in a state of emergency, forcing it to work at times more intense than usual. This leads to the fact that energy reserves are depleted much faster than in the usual state, and the body, among other things, has to compensate for its costs in double the amount. To cope with this task, the brain increases the production of cortisol, which increases appetite, thus motivating us to snack more often and in large quantities.

In difficult times, we with particular pleasure lean on “tasty” (sweet and fatty) food. Physiologically, these foods are more "beneficial" under stress because they are nutritious and loaded with glucose, which does not require a lot of effort to process. When large amounts of sugar enter the bloodstream, it increases the concentration of the hormone insulin, which regulates glucose levels: in combination with cortisol, it can fight off stress. However, you should not reassure yourself that the body is able to cope with stress on its own. If you do not provide him with proper support, we run the risk of providing ourselves with a violation of hormonal regulation, the development of diabetes and other diseases.

Physiological need is not the only thing that changes our diet and taste habits during stress: the protective mechanisms of the psyche also affect the choice of dishes when we feel bad. It seems that junk food, which in normal conditions we try to bypass, will help smooth out the oppressed state, encourage and cheer us up - in the end, it's time to allow yourself to relax even for a minute. There is nothing wrong with the desire to reward yourself with a delicious, albeit not the most useful, lunch, but it is important that such a decision be made consciously. The effects of stress - prolonged physical exertion coupled with mental exhaustion - deprive us of discretion and reduce our control over our actions. In this state, the idea of ​​measure is often lost. When we wake up, we find that we are eating not because we are hungry and get pleasure from food, but in order to take up the freed time or soothe anxiety in this way.

This "emotional nourishment" is common among people who are exposed to frequent stress. According to an American Psychological Association infographic, in 2013, 38% of adults said they overeat or eat junk food during periods of increased nervous tension. Another 33% said that it helps them to get away from worries, another 34% admitted that emotional eating became a habit for them. The data of the same organization show that women are more inclined to seize stress (49% of respondents) than men (30%), or are more willing to admit it.

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It seems that junk food will help smooth out the depression, encourage

and cheer us up

A separate risk category for stress overeating includes children and adolescents of school age, students and those whose activities are associated with enhanced mental activity. The fact is that, concentrating on solving complex problems, we spend more energy and, accordingly, more calories than when doing routine tasks.If you are going to be distracted by another snack, it is better to postpone work and allow yourself to have a quiet lunch in a comfortable environment, and certainly not at the computer.

Researchers at the University of Alabama decided to test whether there is an alternative way to get energy during periods of mental stress, other than constantly "feeding" the brain. They conducted an experiment in which 38 healthy students took part. First of all, they were asked what kind of pizza they like the most, and 35 minutes after that they were allowed to eat their favorite dish. Then the participants solved the tasks from the entrance and university exams for 20 minutes. After that, some of them rested for 15 minutes in anticipation of a new portion of food, while others exercised on a treadmill. Subsequently, the "sports" group was also given pizza, but these students could not eat more than the standard portion, since they had already received the glucose needed by the brain from physical activity (during cardio exercise, blood sugar levels also increase). Passive students consumed 100 more calories than the runners.

Such experiments prove that in stressful situations our body will not be hindered by some restrictions and control on our part. Regular overeating and subsequent anxiety about it does not contribute to a healthy lifestyle in any way. There is, of course, the other extreme: excessive preoccupation with proper nutrition often leads us into a state of stress, which we sought to get rid of by regulating the diet. But, no matter how tough deadlines get in the way of a full meal, try to take the time to eat. You should not completely exclude snacks, especially when time is sorely lacking: they can also be useful if you control the process. You can seize stress - the main thing is to do it right.

Photos: yvdavid - stock.adobe.com, andregric - stock.adobe.com

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