Countless Americans face stress in their professional workplaces, marriages and other aspects of life. One of the most common methods of coping involves stress eating, or otherwise consuming notable amounts of junk food in various short time periods.
New studies have affirmed that stress eating directly correlates with weight gain in its participants.
The Connection Between Stress Eating and Weight Gain
In a nutshell, stressed individuals consume greater quantities of food which generally contains higher amounts of calories. Furthermore, those who eat while they are experiencing stress are also subjecting themselves to increased insulin levels in the body.
Although many people are unaware, the human body generates insulin to inform the brain that the body has had enough food. When someone eats while stressed, their insulin levels increase which explains the compulsion to keep eating. If this unhealthy manner of eating occurs regularly, as time passes, insulin levels will cease to impact the body’s nerve cells.
This is very bad news. Once nerve cells no longer experience impacts from insulin levels, the body struggles to burn energy via heat. Mind you, this occurs in addition to the consumption of more and more junk food.
A member of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research explained more about this vicious cycle:
“Our findings revealed a vicious cycle, where chronic, high insulin levels are driven by stress and a high-calorie diet promoted more and more eating. This really reinforced the idea that while it’s bad to eat junk food, eating high-calorie foods under stress is a double whammy that drives obesity.”
Healthy Ways of Coping with Stress
One of the best ways to kill the stress eating habit is to develop healthy ways of coping with stress. Thankfully, there are plenty of existing alternatives. Exercising, taking time for oneself, or even cutting off the source of stress are each viable options.
It’s important to note that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying junk food on occasion. However, moderation is paramount. The consumption of unhealthy food becomes problematic when it happens on a regular basis or for the purpose of escaping from an existing issue in one’s life.