Stress and Appetite: What To Do About It - Rejuvit

Stress and Appetite: What To Do About It

Imagine life without stress seems nearly impossible, doesn't it? Whether we're striving to meet work deadlines, studying for exams, or even on vacation, stress accompanies us everywhere. Many of us are accustomed to these feelings and tend to compartmentalize our stress by attributing it to general life overwhelm, others, or ongoing anxiety.

By now, we are well aware of the impact of stress on our digestion, concentration, and mood. However, chronic stress goes beyond macro-level effects. Living with prolonged stress can actually alter our behavior, affect our hormones, and increase or decrease our appetite on a micro-level. These changes may seem small but can significantly influence how we show up for ourselves each day.

Regardless of how much meditation, journaling, or walking we do, one thing remains true: we cannot accomplish anything without properly fueling our bodies first. Some days, we feel inspired to try new recipes, while other days, eating may feel like a mere task on our to-do list. Stress can greatly influence our eating patterns and appetite. If you're wondering how to address this, keep reading to discover how stress impacts our appetite, why the connection varies among individuals, and what to do if stress makes you an emotional eater or suppresses your appetite.

How Does Stress Affect Our Appetite?

Stress manifests in two forms: acute and chronic. Acute stress is a brief, intense response to a sudden and often unexpected event, whereas chronic stress may be less intense but persists for an extended period. It's important to distinguish between these two states as they can have different effects on our bodies and eating behaviors.

Appetite regulation is a complex process involving various hormones that work together to make us feel hungry or full. When we experience stress, the interaction between our brain and hormones becomes even more intricate. Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, and leptin, the fullness hormone, typically control our appetite. Interestingly, these hormones fluctuate differently depending on the type of stress we're experiencing.

During acute stress, ghrelin is suppressed, resulting in decreased hunger. However, chronic stress causes a surge in ghrelin levels, leading us to crave sugary and salty foods that are often less nutritious. On the other hand, leptin decreases during and after acute stress, with women showing more significant fluctuations. This could explain the common notion of stress making us feel insatiable, prompting cravings for pizza and ice cream.

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