Stress-induced overeating Stress-induced overeating

Stress and anxiety can negatively affect your mental and physical health. Find out what causes your appetite to increase when you binge eat.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), only a third of people who undergo stressful experiences lose their appetites and lose weight. Normally, when dealing with anxiety or depression, people often opt to eat foods uncontrollably that have high sugar contents.

Why? According to the NIH, ongoing stress can lower serotonin levels, also known as the “happiness hormone.” It also releases the steroid hormone called cortisol. Consuming foods with sugar therefore serves as a way to substitute this lack of serotonin, as it causes the brain to send adrenaline throughout the body to make you feel better and also makes you hungry.

How to avoid anxiety

  • Get moving. Run, jump, walk, or do anything to prevent being physically inactive. This is a way of tricking the body and it helps the blood to circulate faster and eliminate cortisol more easily.
  • Avoid caffeine. Consuming caffeine increases cortisol levels.
  • Slow down. One of the main characteristics of anxiety is that it makes people act rushed. It is therefore important to try to stay calm by practicing meditation, reading or listening to music.

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