"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Do you get more hungry when you are stressed?

Lisa Cutforth - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hunger hormone may increase in times of stress.

This could explain why often people want to eat more in response to stress.

 It is known that fasting causes ghrelin, a hunger hormone, to be produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which sends a signal to the brain that essentially increases our appetite.  Interesting research has found that exposure to stress can also cause ghrelin levels to rise.  This may be because the body anticipates that it will have increased need for resources or kick in primal survival and danger cues as a form of preparation for disaster.  However, paradoxically, it appears that the behaviours associated with depression and anxiety will tend to decrease as ghrelin levels rise.  Researchers have explained this might have been an evolutionary adaptation: the anti-anxiety effect of hunger-induced ghrelin may have provided a survival advantage.  Our hunter - gatherer ancestors who need to make food accumulation a priority, where able to keep calm and focused while in search of food, or they could have been at risk of becoming dinner themselves should they not have their wits about them. 

So while the ghrelin increase could have an antidepressant effect and possibly even increase energy levels, it could contribute to weight problems.  Similarly researchers are optimistic at blocking the body's response to ghrelin signals in an attempt to control weight by decreasing intake, however this could actually increase anxiety and depression.  It seems that could be a vicious cycle for someone who is prone to comfort eating.  They would feel more anxious and look for food even more to soothe.

Getting hungrier in response to stress and eating more when added to another physiological response to stress, make stress a key player and culprit in weight problems.

Another interesting factor that appears to make stress a contributor to poor weight control is the body's physiological response.  Stressed individuals tend to have increased abdominal fat receptors around their gut, and so will have a tendency to be able to store more or put on more weight during times of times, particularly chronic or ongoing stress.  

So what else could you do with your mouth and stomach in a response to stress that makes you feel better, increases endorphins and has a positive effect on your waistline?


There is a lot of research highlighting the stress management benefits of laughter:

  1. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenalin, dopamine and growth hormone. 
  2. Laughter provides a physical and emotional release, often you can feel really cleansed and invigorated from a good laugh.
  3. Laughter gives you a good internal workout.  It exercises your facial muscles, your diaphragm, your heart, contracts your abs and shoulders and leaves muscles feeling more relaxed afterwards.
  4. Laughter is a great distraction, if helps bring your focus away from negative emotions like anger or guilt. 
  5. Laughter is a great connector and so has social benefits.
  6. Laughter helps you shift perspective.  Humour can give you a more lighthearted perspective so that something is viewed as a challenge rather than a threat.
  7. Laughter can help you to alter your state.  Even a fake or forced laugh or smile can have a positive effect on your physiology, so lift up the corners of your mouth, throw back your head and LAUGH OUT LOUD!



Recent Posts


recipies fun breast cancer awareness video hot guys best exercise health with 10 % effort Add new tag happiness course improve your memory reasons to eat foods in season how to check your breasts weight loss weight how to get more of exercise reducing coffee overindulge how to avoid injury during exercise time management and healthy living energy fruit relationship with food what is movember feels good food sensitivities make stress work for you organic vegetables comfort pig four questions you must ask your doctor before taking medication benefits of strength training, why you should strength train relax cholesterol lowering diet have more energy diet diary I don't get hungry detox healthy wine, healthy beer, healthy alcohol options weightloss heart foundation tick explained memory nutrition new year's resolutions addicted to chocolate food intolerances natural alternatives to drugs 7 steps to detox skipping meals dancing homocysteine herbal toothpaste Nutritional Therapist Lisa's Diary nutritionists diet diary Nina Simone lunch healthy cooking demonstration the power to choose stress, keys to managing stress, benefits of stress are grains healthy dangers of multitasking while you eat comfort eating celebrate life life lessons immune boosting tips focus benefits of sleeping nutritious support your body empty your mind muscle wasting Egg allergy cheap fruit and vegetables, what's in season in autumn in australia fresh start Laughter and stress the tummy beast ways to improve prostate health sugar and add Sensational low cholesterol healthy cooking parties childrens lunch boxes breast cancer awareness sexy salads to know and not do is not yet to know prostate cancer life choices indigestion Alan Pease diet diary of a nutritionist breast cancer prevention healthy shopping pop-eye and spinach how to be happy music gluten intolerance blood pressure getting fit muffins nutritionist in brisbane seasonal quick and tasty recipes high cholesterol calorie controlled diet breakfast assertiveness should I eat organic veggies how to avoid doing the right thing and getting the wrong results drugfree alternatives love food 10 % principle natural toothpaste benefits to keeping a diet diary mobile phones and brain cancer, Dr Teo are frozen veggies any good making time to relax control wrong type of exercise, exercise and results recipes for allergies go for 2 and 5 is sugar bad happiness workshop simple 7 day detox plan taking a break quick recipes leaky gut, gut health, symptoms of leaky gut fatigue I've Got Life food allergies performance quick eating solutions soft drink and behaviour problems foods in season, seasonal recipes delicious Dr Randy Pausch on Oprah real food Lactose intolerance avoiding a choice sensitivity to milk image what is healthy food life fussy eaters libido christmas health one step at a time cooking class in brisbane immune system Cancer salad comfort foods nutritionist strength sugar and adhd ability to respond taking responsibility sustainable living, rural development, organic gardening, rampumps, biogas anxiety health heart disease love, loneliness 7 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart nutritious cooking soft drink and behavior problems allergies cooking with allergies motivation healthy cooking party obesity fresh fun healthy shopping list soccer, role of team sports in longevity, role of exercise and community in longevity hunger and stress great second hand books gift Happiness success and you increasing energy mood keep focused low calorie meal plan alzheimers maintain a healthy weight, underweight which is better for you butter or margarine health for busy people ask my doctor healthy fast food, healthy take away have fun in the kitchen how to say no skip meals fruit and vegetable shortage recipe what is a good breakfast corporate wellness health pioneers brain health how to love exercise low calorie diet sexy salad trans fats is chocolate bad for me do i have to drink milk; where do i get calcium from; non dairy calcium sources quizz dance