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Health & Fit How stress might cause weight gain even if you don't eat more

23:56  03 april  2018
23:56  03 april  2018 Source:   today.com

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So even if you aren' t eating more than usual, experiencing high levels of stress may cause you to gain weight . Stress -Induced Eating Habits. High stress levels may also lead to changes in your behavior that contribute to weight gain . Here are some of the most common dietary changes people

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Stress can make you fat. And it's not entirely because you stress eat, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that chronic stress may pump up the rate in which new fat cells are formed, according to a report published Tuesday in Cell Metabolism. It all comes down to levels of hormones called glucocorticoids, which are produced in abundance when we're stressed.

When glucocorticoids are constantly high, as is the case when we're chronically stressed out, a greater percentage of fat precursor cells may mature into actual fat cells. And that could bump up our weight, said Mary Teruel, the study's senior author and an assistant professor of chemical and systems biology at Stanford University.

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The stress would not directly affect your body weight , but it could cause you to overeat without realizing it. Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, rise during stressful times. You dismissed this ad. The feedback you provide will help us show you more relevant content in the future.

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It's long been known that rises in the stress hormone cortisol can lead to weight gain in humans, but the assumption has been that people were just eating more because the hormone stimulates appetite.

Suspecting something else might be going on, the Stanford researchers studied the effects of glucocorticoids both in individual precursor cells and in mice.

While mice and people are certainly different in many ways, both are greatly influenced by circadian rhythms and both produce glucocorticoids in response to stress.

"I am not a clinician, but I think that the human body would react in a similar fashion to the mice to continuous high levels of glucocorticoids," Teruel said. "However, more experiments would be needed to test this."

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How much cortisol people produce in response to stress may also factor into the stress – weight gain equation. In 2007, British researchers designed an ingenious study that showed that people who responded to stress with high cortisol levels in an experimental setting were more likely to snack in

The most common cause of weight gain is regularly eating more calories than you burn in a day. You may be committed to choosing only If you don ' t preserve muscle, your metabolism naturally slows down and you gain weight with fewer calories. You 're Stressed or Not Getting Enough Sleep.

Under a microscope the researchers saw how the hormone, when kept at constant high levels, caused the development of fat cells. Intriguingly, though, the effect depended on the high levels being constant. If they rose and fell, there was no impact.

And that was true even if glucocorticoid levels were extremely high, but for a limited period of time.

Chronic stress without a break may boost the chances for a certain type of cell to morph into fat cells, the study found. Most significant — the mice with 24-hour, higher-than-normal glucocorticoid hormone levels saw a doubling of fat.

"So basically, it's not about food intake," she said. "It's about timing."

The increase in fat is likely related to the fact that under normal circumstances glucocorticoids wax and wane with our circadian clocks, Teruel said. So our bodies are designed to ignore short-term fluctuations of these hormones.

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Those who don ' t exercise become more prone to developing anxiety. Stress and anxiety are commonly associated with weight gain , and for a good reason - during times of anxiety, the Weight loss may also simply occur naturally. But if you were not suspecting to lose weight , this can cause

You might already know that eating more frequently is also a tip given to those wanting to lose weight as well, to maintain Sickness will stop your weight gain plan in its tracks, so it’s important to still eat a healthy diet ( even if you ’re eating a lot more of How can I gain weight without eating fatty foods?

But everything is thrown out of whack when levels stay high — as they will if a person's stress doesn't diminish, even after the day's work is done.

"So maybe it's OK to get stressed during the day, but not at night," Teruel said.

The implication is that if we could find ways to modulate our stress in the evenings and at night, it might not affect our weight.

What helps reduce chronic stress?

That makes sense to Dr. Anthony Heaney, an endocrinologist and an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine.

"It would suggest that any method people can use to beat stress could be of benefit," Heaney said. "I think the challenge is for people who are stressed often times. I don't think jumping into a 30-minute yoga or Pilates class will be enough to address that."

The kinds of activities that might help are those "that need 100 percent of our attention," Heaney said.

That could mean a game of tennis over running on a treadmill, for example.

"Certain activities we do are not absorbing enough to distract from stress, Heaney said. "Whereas jogging might be a good healthy sport, you can sometimes still ruminate and be stressed because it doesn't require your sole attention."


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