Does Stress stimulate weight gain?

A lot of people are struggling with weight gain or belly fat growth. You find out that your belly is protruding and you don’t know what to do.? Does stress stimulate weight gain?

Let’s delve in to find out.

What is stress?

Stress causes a release of the hormone cortisol. This cortisol causes the body to be in a fight or flight mode. The cortisol pauses the bodily function and slows down metabolism.. Excessive production of the cortisol is harmful to the body. Cortisol stimulates the fat and carbohydrate metabolism of the body. Cortisol increases your appetite. Cortisol causes a craving for sweets and fatty foods, making the body to crave for French fries, Ice cream etc.

Also, worthy of note is elevated cortisol in the body leads to a reduction in testosterone in the body. This reduction in testosterone leads to a reduction in muscle mass and accumulation of body weight( Orlandohealth)

What causes stress?

A lot of factors causes stress in our body. Factors such as

  • work pressure
  • family pressure
  • break ups or broken relationships
  • being stuck in traffic for hours on ends
  • when your daily commute to and fro work is slowly killing you
  • while raising young children
  • emotional pressure
  • financial pressure
  • loss of a loved one
  • constant squabbles in a relationship

How the weight gain occurs

When the stress is induced, it triggers the release of cortisol in the body. This cortisol release goes on the affect weight gain Cortisol stimulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy release. Cortisol also stimulate insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. This leads to increase in appetite. Chronic stress could lead to elevated level of cortisol which a resultant effect on appetite. The person eats more and hence leading to weight gain or difficulty losing the weight.

Cortisol promotes weight gain. it also causes the body to deposit fat on the abdomen. The deposition of fat on the abdomen is toxic fat that causes bulging of belly fat. Remember that abdominal fat is strongly linked to cardiovascular diseases and other chronic conditions.

There is a vicious cycle of stress

get stressed, release cortisol, gain weight, crave more sugar, eat more sugar, gain more weight.

What’s more, a 2015 study showed that our bodies metabolize slower under stress. It was discovered that women who had been stressed previously during a 24 hour period and had eaten a high fat meal, metabolized the fat slower than the women who had not been stress. This experiment showed a slow down in their metabolism and a higher level of insulin in the body.

Stress increases one’s anxiety level.

“More stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for junk food = more belly fat,” says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist.

Finally, there is need to learn now to manage stress to prevent the harmful effect on our body. Tommorow, we will talk about how to manage stress.

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