Essay Example on Stress and Eating

Published: 2022-10-31
Essay Example on Stress and Eating
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Stress Diet Fast food Nutrition
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1190 words
10 min read

In biological terms, stress refers to the reaction of the body to the disturbance of the equilibrium given particular stimuli (Haynes 369). Notably, stress has become a menace in the modern day world due to factors such as political, religious, economic pressures among others. Moreover, the food industry constantly provides staple foods such as, refined carbohydrates, preservatives, sweeteners, excessive animal fats, and artificial colors that are additional stressors. Also, unhealthy and poor eating habits have resulted in an increased level of stress and further health problems. (Haynes 369).

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Stress and Nutrition

Stress is known to cause greater physiologic demands such as oxygen, more energy and circulation thus the body needs more vitamins and minerals. It has also been associated with poor quality of diet, poor eating habits and a higher body mass index. Ironically, people battling stress need to ingest foods that are more nutritionally dense but often opt for comfort foods which lack the necessary nutrients leading to depletion of nutrients. These comfort foods cause the brain to release serotonin chemical which helps in boosting their moods thus offering temporarily comfort and leads to a drop in the sugar levels resulting to fatigue among other effects (Haynes 372).

Besides, stress contributes to unhealthy eating habits. For instance, people who undergo stress usually have less time to eat a balanced diet. It also causes people to crave for foods that contain high levels of sugars and fats, which is an eating problem and with time may cause greater stress on the body in addition to nutritional insufficiency. Also, stress may make people tend to skip or forget to take their meals which may lead to inconsistencies in the metabolic reactions indicating grave health hazards. Notably, eating is critical in controlling stress as it is through food that one receives the energy and nutrients to function efficiently. In addition to skipping meals, people enduring stress fail to drink water which is vital in ensuring the proper functioning of the body and the brain as well as helping it cope with stress(Haynes 373).

Moreover, people enduring stress use stimulants such as coffee to help them cope. Unfortunately, instead of assisting and helping cope with stress, taking coffee leads to adverse effects in the body as it contains caffeine which affects hormones significantly. For instance, caffeine increases adrenaline and cortisol amounts. The increased amounts of cortisol, which is the stress hormone released in the bloodstream when people get stressed contribute to an individual's urge to consume foods that are high in fats, sugars, and carbohydrates resulting in the storage of excess fats(Haynes 375). Notably, taking foods rich in refined sugars, simple carbohydrates such as snacks and fried foods, red meat, cheese also increase cortisol levels. Such poor eating habits inhibit the possibility of consuming the correct amounts of nutrients which may lead to adverse health conditions.

Additionally, people going through stress especially concerned with hitting deadlines among others often evade duties such as cooking resorting to fast foods because it is fast and easy. Once they form the habit, it becomes part of their lifestyle and become prone to illnesses related to stress and poor eating habits.

Stress and Diet

A diet that is high in fat and lacks the necessary nutrients has been identified as immensely impacting the balance of stress hormones (Tomiyama et al. 357). Food that is lower in fat is highly recommended as it helps in the balance of stress hormones as compared to those with higher fat content.

Additionally, an improper dietary intake that does not include vitamins increases stress and the general mood of individuals. Vitamin supplementation helps in the reduction of stress levels and improves mental performance. For instance, the lack of vitamin B12 is associated with higher rates of psychological distress. Therefore, insufficient vitamin intake, lack of a nutritional balance and excess fat consumption aggravates the stress response and creates unhealthy balances of the stress hormones. It ultimately leads to individuals becoming stressed due to the health implications that are brought about by unhealthy and balanced diet (Tomiyama et al. 357).

Additionally, when an individual falls ill as a result of poor eating habits knowingly or not, they are likely to become stressed a result of the financial obligations that befall them on their way to recovery.

Stress eating, hunger, and hormones

Stress has been known to affect food preferences as evidenced in numerous researches. Emotional and physical distress increases the chances of taking foods that are less nutritious. People suffering from stress tend to eat emotionally and compulsively as a reaction to stress. In such cases, they usually choose foods that are unhealthy and are high in calories and fats which may harm ultimately harm the body (Greeno 444).

Additionally, people overeat as a way of coping with stress with women turning to food and men to smoking or alcohol which leads to poor health and more so leads to obesity. Overweight people have been identified to have higher insulin levels and are prone to stress-related weight gain due to their poor dieting (Greeno 444). However, stress can also cause people to ignore hunger and refrain from eating for a long time leading to under-eating which may result in losing weight and later get stressed over their weight.

Stress and Eating Disorders

Stress can make individuals unable to control their unhealthy eating habits leading to eating disorders such as binge (Troop, 158). Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food without self-control and afterward experiencing feelings of shame and guilt. Stress contributes significantly to binge eating and the desire to overeat. An individual diagnosed with this disorder tends to use food to deal with emotions such as sadness, boredom, and anger among others. It often leads to a cycle of bingeing in that when one is stressed, they eat a lot, and after overeating, one feels guilty and worried of issues such as gaining more weight which makes them more stressed (Troop 158).

When an individual is stressed, the body produces more cortisol hormone which increases hunger. If an individual is already suffering from binge disorder, it implies that they have higher amounts of this hormone than a person without the disorder thus the desire to eat is spurred. Notably, there are stressful things that contribute to eating disorders such as binge, in that they tend to eat a lot to deal with such stressors. They include monetary issues, troubles at places of work, problems in the family and experiences of bullying among others.

Moreover, there are other eating disorders such as anorexia which is caused by anxiety. An individual who constantly feels nervous, unease and worrying of an imminent threat may turn to food to help them cope with such emotions leading to an eating disorder (Troop 162).

Works cited

Greeno, Catherine G., and Rena R. Wing. "Stress-induced eating." Psychological Bulletin 115.3 (1994): 444.

Haynes, Charlotte, Michelle D. Lee, and Martin R. Yeomans. "Interactive effects of stress, dietary restraint, and disinhibition on appetite." Eating Behaviors 4.4 (2003): 369-383.

Tomiyama, A. Janet, et al. "Low-calorie dieting increases cortisol." Psychosomatic Medicine 72.4 (2010): 357.

Troop, Nicholas A., Alison Holbrey, and Janet L. Treasure. "Stress, coping, and crisis support in eating disorders." International Journal of Eating Disorders 24.2 (1998): 157-166.

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