Do desires to eat respond to hunger or anxiety?


Anxiety is the feeling of worry or uncertainty, usually related to an imminent event or something that will happen without a certain outcome.

Anxiety and hunger are related in some cases, as both can trigger the other.

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It is important that we learn to differentiate real hunger as a natural process of our body with the hunger generated by anxiety since it only responds to this feeling and is not our body asking us to give it energy.

Hunger due to anxiety can bring negative consequences such as gaining weight and that is why by differentiating it we can stop this type of behavior.

How to recognize hunger?

Physiological hunger is a biological process that responds to other processes such as metabolism and digestion.

When we experience this type of hunger we can feel a type of “empty stomach” which is when there is almost no food residue left in it.

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When this happens, glucose levels can drop in the blood and for this reason you can feel weak or tired.

How is hunger for anxiety?

Hunger due to anxiety and stress is related to the levels of cortisol and insulin that we release in our body when we have these feelings. Because of this we look for food high in sugars.

By eating food high in carbohydrates, anxiety and stress levels seem to normalize or at least reduce, generating a sense of calm.

There are times when anxiety reduces hunger as the mind’s way of focusing on the problem, but in the long run high levels of cortisol in the blood lead to hunger and you may even crave specific foods.

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Who is most likely to crave eating?

According to some studies of Harvard Universitywomen are more likely to use food as a way to mitigate anxiety than other methods such as alcohol and advocacy.

It is even greater in people who are overweight, and when they eat out of anxiety they gain even more weight, becoming a vicious cycle.

Strategies to avoid anxiety eating

To prevent anxiety eating from causing an increase in your weight. There are simple ways to counter it, for example:

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-Avoid having food high in fat and sugar at home.

You can start by not filling the refrigerator with foods high in fat or sugar. If you keep this type of food close, temptation is just around the corner.

-Meditate.

Meditation is also a good ally to reduce anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that meditating reduces anxiety and the urge to eat.

-Eat slowly.

Eating slowly is a way to get rid of anxiety, in this way we do not give in to immediate impulses to eat in large quantities.

-Exercise.

Exercising or playing sports daily reduces anxiety and helps clear the mind. Cardiovascular exercise is excellent for maintaining an ideal weight.

The similarities between physical hunger and anxiety hunger is what makes stopping the latter so challenging.

If you pay attention to your body and put into practice the recommended strategies to reduce your episodes of anxiety eating, you can overcome it.

If you suffer from anxiety, you should go to a specialized doctor.

Source: Harvard University, National Center for Biotechnology Information

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