Saturday, February 25, 2006

Physiological Roots for Emotional Eating

I guess that the last few posts have dealt with eating issues and pathology, so I guess that this one is no exception - this posting and this link merely highlight the fact that the emotional eating of "comfort foods" is physiologically based (keep in mind that the link is a summary of previous research articles and not an actual study). The process follows this course:
  1. When the body starts to feel stress, certain hormones like cortisol are released.
  2. It's those hormones that then make comfort foods actually taste better, sparking cravings.
  3. It is the fatty foods and the sugar-laden foods that tend to help lower those stress hormones, only temporarily. This represents an inappropriate, inadequate response to stress, as it is very short term.
  4. Individuals with excess belly fat have an exaggerated response to cortisol which may be why it's difficult for some to lose that weight in the midsection.
  5. Researchers have also found that exercise, meditation, and massage can be useful in a weight-loss strategy because they keep stress levels from peaking which keeps people out of the junk food.

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