Does Stress Increase Snacking?

on March 18, 2022

When you're feeling stressed, do you find yourself reaching for a snack? Or late at night do you ever get that guilt feeling to NOT grab that candy bar? If so, you're not alone. 

According to recent research, stress can increase snacking and lead to overeating. In this blog post, we'll explore the link between stress and overeating, and we'll discuss some tips for managing your stress levels. Stay tuned!

What Is Stress Eating?

You may have heard the term stress eating, but what exactly does this mean? Stress eating is a type of emotional overeating. It occurs when you eat in response to your emotions or feelings rather than physical hunger cues. Emotional eating can occur in response to many different types of emotions, including both positive and negative ones such as happiness, sadness, boredom and stress. 

Why Do We Eat When We're Stressed?

There are several reasons why people tend to eat more when they're feeling stressed. For many people with stressful jobs or busy schedules (such as parents), eating can be an easy way to take a break from their hectic lives for just a few minutes each day—even if it's not always healthy food that they're reaching for. In addition, high cortisol levels from stress can increase food cravings for sugary or fatty foods. Stress is also associated with increased hunger hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is a hunger hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that increases appetite, and also plays a role in body weight.

How Does Stress Cause Overeating?

When you're stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for the "fight or flight" response that occurs when we experience stress. This hormonal response causes several physical changes in the body, including an increase in blood sugar and a decrease in insulin sensitivity. These changes can lead to overeating and weight gain over time. 

Once a stressful situation disappears, your cortisol levels should fall, but if you get stuck in a stress episode, cortisol levels may stay elevated and so may your snacking.

What Can We Do to Reduce Our Stress Levels?

If you're struggling with stress-related overeating, there are several things you can do to reduce your stress levels. Here are a few tips:

  • Make time for yourself each day to relax and de-stress. This could be something as simple as taking a hot bath, reading a book, or spending time outdoors in nature.
  • Practice yoga or meditation regularly. Both of these activities can help to calm the mind and body.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can make stress symptoms worse.
  • Get enough sleep each night. When we're tired, we tend to be more stressed out and less able to cope with difficult situations effectively.
  • Exercise for many is a great stress reducer, such as going for a long run or swimming 30 minutes per day.
  • Supplementation may promote ingredients to reduce cortisol levels or stress and anxiety but make sure the dosages in the formulas are clinically proven.

Managing our stress levels is not always easy, but it's important work that needs to be done if we want to maintain our health and well-being. By taking some time each day to relax and de-stress, we can better cope with the stressors in our lives and avoid overeating as a result.

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