Why Anxiety Makes You Eat


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You know the scene: Stress feels like it’s bubbling over, and suddenly where there was once a full bag of chips, there are now just a few crumbs.

This unconscious hand-to-mouth eating has a biological explanation: When you’re anxious, your brain tends to focus on an immediate reward (a tasty bite), while forgetting a long-term goal (like losing weight). At the same time, the stress hormone cortisol could be messing up your hunger signals, so you think you need to eat, even when you don’t. Unfortunately, the comfort foods you crave during those situations may not provide real comfort. In one University of Minnesota study, researchers found that reaching for chocolate, ice cream, and cookies was no more of a mood booster than abstaining from them.


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