Posts tagged Stress

Stress and Diet- Research by Shannon Connell

There is an interconnection between stress, cortisol levels, eating behavior, food choices, psychological and physiological health (Epel, Lapidus, McEwen, & Brownell, 2001). Stress can lead to either decreased or increased food intake (Adams & Epel, 2007). Today, most humans are increasing food intake as a reaction to stress (Adams & Epel, 2007). From an evolutionary perspective food supply was once unpredictable and often inconsistent (Pinel, 2009). Having the ability to eat large quantities of food and to store fat was at times critical to survival (Pinel, 2009). Industrialization has not only increased availability of food, but increased the variety of foods (Brannon & Feist, 2010). Serving sizes have increased and nutritional whole foods are less accessible and more expensive (Jung, 1997). Technological advancements are also leading people to more sedentary lifestyles and more stress, resulting in a major epidemic in chronic diseases, known as Syndrome X (Jung, 1997, Monat, Lazarus, & Reevy, 2007). Recent studies in psychoneuroimmunology and the allostasis of stress and eating suggest that increases in cortisol are related to greater food consumption and more unhealthy food choices (Epel, et al., 2001). Studies have also shown that dysfunctions of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis relate to food addiction and binge eating behavior (Adams & Epel, 2007).

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Shannon Connell