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The Science Behind Stress and Eating

stresseating Oct 29, 2020

Life can be stressful. And how do we deal with stress? We eat….well, many of us do. Food can be a comforting tool, to momentarily slide that stress away and make us feel better. But why do we do this? And what impact does this have on our long-term health? Today, we’ll explore these questions by firstly explaining the stress response.

 

The stress response

When we feel stressed out, our body produces a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol interacts with the appetite-regulating hormone, leptin. Leptin is responsible for suppressing our appetite after we’ve had a feed.

 

Chronic stress can elevate cortisol and block the effects of leptin. This means that a person is more likely to overeat and feel hungry all the time. Other implications include an increased risk of chronic disease development, like cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

 

So why do we stress eat?

Eating food can dampen our stress response by eliciting positive psychological...

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