Anxiety and Stress Levels Can Trigger Food Cravings

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Do you experience food cravings when you’re stressed? If yes, it’s no longer a popular opinion. A study published in the journal Eating Behaviors can back it up.

Australian researchers conducted a study that revealed people with negative emotions such as stress and tension tend to consume more unhealthy food.

Anxiety, Stress and Binge Eating

In the study, the researchers rolled out a survey to 142 participants to identify if stress is associated with food intake. The survey questions include:

  • daily eating habits
  • tension or stress
  • food cravings

The survey revealed that participants craved more junk foods on their stressful days. Moreover, the researchers discovered that when the participants are more anxious, they will eat a lot.

Shina Leow, the lead author and a sport exercise researcher at the University of Western Australia, stated that the findings allow them to research how emotions can lead to overeating.

Once the reason behind this behavior is identified, it can be of help to nutritionists. The nutritionists can provide better recommendations for people who experience binge-eating among other eating problems.

Based on the study, stress can affect the appetite of people by shutting down the appetite. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can also be triggered when people experience too much stress or anxiety.

When you experience stress, the brain cells will send responses to the glands to produce even more cortisol. Because of this, cortisol will double the desire to eat.

Intensified Food Cravings During Lockdowns

Other researchers studied how the COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s eating habits. The University of Zimbabwe conducted a research, and the results were published in BMJ Nutrition and Prevention Health.

The research revealed that 503 participants from ages 31-40 were stressed. The stress made them eat unhealthy food, given the limited access to fresh and healthy food during the lockdowns.

The pandemic brought so much stress and loneliness, and people found comfort in eating high amounts of food. The researchers also highlighted that the stress brought by lockdowns activated food cravings.

In conclusion, the researchers warned the public about the dangers of too many cravings. Cravings can lead to obesity, which eventually can be a factor in developing severe health problems.

Find something that can make your time worthwhile. Reduce your levels of stress by engaging in different hobbies or physical activities. Doing so can lessen the amount of tension you’re holding in. In turn, it can result in reduced food cravings.

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