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What Chemicals Are Behind Stress Eating?

There is no doubt that we are all under lots more stress than the “usual”.  Who out there is not feeling the stress of worrying about what the future holds for you and your family?

Stress leads to changes in some vital body chemicals involved in the hunger/satiety/eating arena.  The four most prominent chemicals are: cortisol, serotonin, leptin and ghrelin.

Stress causes and increase release of cortisol and ghrelin and depletion of serotonin and leptin.   Unfortunately, cortisol and ghrelin lead to increased appetite, lower satiety and therefore tend to be “bad” for weight control.  Conversely, serotonin and leptin are “good” for weight control, so the depletion of these chemicals that occur with stress is “bad” for weight control.

The stress release of epinephrine and norepinephrine may cause faster heart rates, higher blood pressure and the other symptoms that accompany stress-induced body reactions.

Are there effective supplements/medications that can block ghrelin or increase leptin?  Unfortunately, the answer is “no”.  Despite claiming that certain supplements block cortisol, there are no proven products available that, in fact, accomplish this.

Perhaps understanding that there are strong chemical components to “stress eating” is the first step in blocking the final component:  Picking up those food/drink sources and placing them in our mouths.  At the end of the day, we all can override these chemical signals to block the final behavioral component.

Stress eating and the accompanying weight gain will only stress us more.  Now, more than ever, weight control is of the utmost importance.  Do not succumb to stress eating!

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