How can stress affect your daily appetite? There are always different sources of stress in your daily lifestyle, whether it is work, schoolwork, relationship, or finances. Some people might feel anxious, nervous, or lose appetite when faced with these stresses. However, some people just hold a bucket of ice cream and eat as much as they want. They undergo binge eating to relieve their stress and get comfortable with their soul. Hence, when it comes to daily stress or pressure, some people might lose weight, and some people may gain weight after overeating.
2 Type of Stress You May Encounter
Everyone has different ways of relieving daily stress. They are also psychologically stressed. Some people will face overeating, but some people have a loss of appetite. Why do these two completely different reactions occur? To discuss this issue, we first need to understand that stress can be simply divided into two categories which are acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute Stress: Short Term Stress
When we face some short-term acute stress, it is like encountering a sudden invasion. The nervous system will send a message to the adrenal glands on the top of the kidney to release adrenaline. This hormone will cause blood vessels to constrict and blood sugar to rise, triggering the nervous system and glands. The body’s series of reactions help trigger the so-called fight-or-flight response. This type of response functionally helps us improve our concentration and keep a close eye on our surroundings in order to make appropriate responses in time. At the same time, the sympathetic adrenal medullary system is also activated, appetite will be suppressed, the body presents a physiological state of temporarily stopping eating, and naturally loses appetite. If you add nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort caused by stress, it will indirectly aggravate the loss of appetite.
Chronic Stress: Long Term Stress
If the stress persists for years, such as chronic stress from work or exams, the story will be different. Long-term chronic stress will cause the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Usually, the hormone level will drop when the tension ends, but if the daily stress or tension persists, the hormone will maintain a high level. Cortisol can increase appetite, stimulate the HPA axis of the hypothalamus, increase the levels of glucocorticoid and insulin, and make people want to eat. In addition, the participation of ghrelin, which promotes appetite, is also one of the reasons.
Does Stress Affect Food Choices?
In one of the American studies published in the journal Physiology & Behavior in April 2006, participants were asked to join in a word puzzles game in order to test their stress level and experience. They are free to choose the food they wanted from chocolate, grapes, peanuts, and potato chips to relieve their pressure. This experiment found that those who are on diet or were originally more restrained to keep in good health will switch from their favorite low-fat healthy foods, such as grapes, to eating high-fat, sugary, high-calorie snacks such as chocolate. At the same time, women are increasing their food intake compared to men. Stress will not only increase appetite but also affect food preferences. If you prefer high-sugar and high-fat foods in pursuit of a more pleasant feeling, this will significantly easier to gain fats.
A study of more than 5,000 people concluded that different genders have different responses to stress. Women prefer food and men prefer to drink or smoke. At the same time, obesity caused by stress is more common among women. In addition, some studies have reminded that long-term stress is prone to problems such as insomnia, insufficient exercise, and excessive drinking. These are some of the reasons for overweight. It is recommended to try some exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi or meditation, and other activities that can help reduce stress.