Do you find yourself reaching for food in times of distress?
Does snacking on a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate help relieve you of anxiety? Stress eating is not an uncommon method of dealing with stressful situations.
Stress eating usually presents itself in a number of ways. These include craving for specific foods, experiencing sudden and urgent hunger pangs, eating to feel happy and when you’re happy, not stopping even when you’re full, and feeling guilty after eating.
Most of us tend to overeat when we’re under a lot of pressure, and this occurs because of our fight–or–flight response.
When under long periods of stress, our bodies produce cortisol, a hunger-inducing hormone. This affects a person’s food preferences and causes our bodies to naturally react favourably when we ingest foods that are high in fat and sugar, or both.
These foods, dubbed as comfort foods, do counteract stress in the short term, which contribute to a person’s habitual cravings for such food.