How Does Stress Affect What Foods We Crave?

Stress - Junk Food CravingsThink of your favorite food. Is it ice cream? Is it pizza, or chocolate? Is it pasta with cream sauce?

These are typically the foods that you will crave when you are stressed.

Stress creates an imbalance of cortisol in the body which produces a signal in the brain that we need fat and or sugar or carbs.

Did you notice that you typically don’t crave protein or vegetables?  Why is that?  It’s because these healthy foods do not satisfy or shut off the switch in the brain that controls satiety or the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. The reason we crave many of our favorite foods — fatty, salty, sweet, or empty carbs when we are stressed is because they have a calming effect on on the body and mind. Serotonin levels increase dramatically when these foods are ingested.

How many of you will eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly stressful day?

The repeated craving of low protein, low fiber, high fat, salty, and sugary foods will cause obesity. It’s easier for you to manage or alleviate the stress than it will be to resist the cravings for these foods when you are stressed out.

The solution — better stress management which will yield better food choices.

Contact NYC Nutritionist, Carly Feigan at 646-226-1745 for your free 15 minute consultation.