The Effects Of Stress On Healthy Eating

Can Stress Erase the Benefits of Eating Healthy Fats?

Emotional Eating In Response To Stress

A study conducted by Ohio State University is suggesting that stress can negate the beneficial effects of healthy fats in our diet. As we now know there are good fats and there are bad fats. The good fats contained in foods such as avocados, fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds are rich in compounds that are critical for good health. Alarmingly, this work raises the possibility that a stressful day or week could destroy all of the health benefits that come from these essential fats.

Surely further proof, if proof were needed, that we all need to incorporate stress management practices into our daily habits for optimum health. Although further research is required in this area, it does highlight the effects that stress has on diet and overall well-being.

What we do know is that chronic stress often leads to unhealthy coping behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption, drug taking or smoking cigarettes. However, in my experience emotional eating in response to stress is more widespread and has equally disastrous consequences.

Emotional eating or comfort eating as it is sometimes called is defined by MedicineNet.com as;

the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.”

What makes the situation even worse is that  we respond to emotional eating by eating high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods with low nutritional value. A Formula that is almost certain to pile on the pounds and make us feel even more stressed, which sets up another cycle of needless eating. And so it goes on and on.

You can recognise emotional eating because it has nothing to do with real physical hunger;

  • It comes on very suddenly. Real hunger is slow and gradual.
  • It is ferocious. It feels uncontrollable.
  • You have a strong desire for junk foods. Foods that are laden with sugar or fat.
  • You tend to eat much faster than usual.
  • It feels as though you cannot be filled. You eat vast quantities of food.
  • You feel guilty after bingeing.

Many weight loss clients have only been successful in controlling emotional eating when their underlying stresses have been dealt with. In addition incorporating stress management practices into your daily routine can work wonders. Regular exercise, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, massage, reflexology, all help with stress relief and the control of emotional eating.

If you are struggling with comfort eating or unhealthy bingeing, now is the time to deal with the stress and emotional pressure that is at the heart of the unhealthy behavior.

stress leads to weight gain

That’s all for now Folks. If you need more information or I can help in any way, give me a call.

Mobile:        0872895171

Email:         info@seanmcgee.ie

Best wishes

Sean