Stress increases belly fat! So what are “comfort foods”?

Glucocorticoids, produced from the adrenal glands (adrenal glands); HORMONES have an important role in glucose, protein and fat metabolism in the body. The main glucocorticoid in the body is CORTISOL (=stress hormone), whose level increases in STRESS.

Studies have shown that cortisol levels that increase with stress increase the fat in the abdominal region. Stress and hormones change activities in various areas of the brain. Hormone (= cortisol) levels that rise due to various stress sources such as livelihood, covid-19, exam period, moving, relationship, traffic stimulate the center (amygdala) in the brain. Increased central activity creates behavioral and neuroendocrine changes: Digestion slows down; fat burning, immune system and reproductive functions are suppressed. In addition, the stimulations to the brain in order to control the increased stress in the body also trigger the consumption of “comfort food” called “comfort food”. Along with stress, the shift of calorie intake from routine nutrition to “comfort food”, which has a high carbohydrate and sugar content, causes energy stores to accumulate around the waist as belly fat rather than peripheral (environmental) distribution. This situation also explains the relationship between stress – change in eating behavior – weight. For example, the desire to eat specific foods (pastry, sugar and high carbohydrate content, etc.) during long periods when we cannot leave the house to protect from covid-19 during the preparation for the exam or during the pandemic… We can say that most of us experience this situation, right?

Source: Dallman, MF, Pecoraro, NC, & la Fleur, SE (2005). Chronic stress and comfort foods: self-medication and abdominal obesity. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 19(4), 275–280. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2004.11.004

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