Stress Eating: What to Know

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Stress Eating: What to Know

Some appealing and common unhealthy snacks that stress eaters should avoid!

Some appealing and common unhealthy snacks that stress eaters should avoid!

Loryn Camp

Some appealing and common unhealthy snacks that stress eaters should avoid!

Loryn Camp

Loryn Camp

Some appealing and common unhealthy snacks that stress eaters should avoid!

Loryn Camp, Writer

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Stress is something that can consume a lot of our lives if not properly dealt with. Everyone has their own ways of coping, and one of the most common for both teens and adults is stress eating. It’s important to understand how and why stress eating works, and just how many people feel the exact same way.

 

Don’t worry, if this is one of the bad habits that you have, you’re not alone. This is a chemical reaction that occurs in your body due to a stressor faced, and ignites a bodily reaction in order to handle these heightened actions. According to the Harvard Medical School, stress exists in both immediate and long term conditions. Short term is what will trigger a fight or flight response, and release a flood of adrenaline, which puts almost an immediate halt to all desired eating.

 

Long term stress is when the body uses comfort foods as a crutch. Instead of releasing adrenaline, the adrenal gland is going to release high amounts of a chemical called cortisol. This increases the appetite or levels in motivation, but sometimes just heightens the motivation to eat.

 

But why are junk foods what we turn to when we need to relieve stress? Why don’t we got to pick up a carrot stick or something healthy? It’s because the perfect match for high cortisol levels is high insulin levels. These high fat and high sugar foods have some sort of effect on the brain that slows the center for producing and processing stress, giving it the name “comfort food”. This only leads to eating more food, which creates a cycle of putting off stress and overloading the body with supplements.

 

In the United States especially, this problem has just led to more health issues than ever. Between type two diabetes, increase risk of strokes and heart attacks, and much more that make obesity one of the biggest preventable deaths in the United States.

 

Stress eating for teens and adults have some pretty scary statistics, and it’s clear that if not handled correctly, bad habits of stress eating will follow anyone for their entire life. The thing is though, the majority of people know that they’re not helping themselves by overeating. Both adults and teens acknowledge that there are negative consequences, and don’t feel any better by doing these actions. 41% of teens and 46% of adults surveyed by the American Psychological Association said that they feel bad about their body shape after overeating. 40% of teens and 49% of adults reported that they feel disappointed in themselves after they divulge.

 

Another side to the story is just completely skipping meals because either they don’t have time to eat, or simply does not have an appetite. 30% of adults admitted that they skip meal, and 41% of those people do it weekly or more.

 

It has also been broken down into the differentiation between genders. Overall, no matter the age, females are more likely to engage in this unhealthy habit. These behaviors become extreme in the ages between 15 to 17, with 37% eating to do away with stress.

 

However you break down the numbers, it’s clear that too many people engage in such habits. Extremes become deadly, and one of the biggest killers in the USA. Managing stress is something that everyone does differently, but it’s important to find something that works for you and gets you to avoid the temptation of comfort foods. Researchers recommend meditating, exercise, and social interactions. Remember that is also is a natural reaction to stress, but there are much better ways to deal.

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