Cortisol Levels Could Be Causing Your Weight Gain

If you've found that being under stress has an effect on your appetite and weight, you're in good company. While some people lose weight when they're under feeling stressed and anxious, many others find that it seems to cause them to gain weight. There are several reasons why stress and weight gain seem to go hand in hand, and one of them has to do with the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is produced naturally by the body's adrenal glands. When you're under stress, adrenalin and cortisol production both increase as part of the body's fight or flight response. Adrenaline ups energy levels and increases metabolism, and cortisol helps the body regain balance after a burst of adrenaline by encouraging the replacement of lost stores of carbohydrate and fat. But the constantly increased cortisol levels associated with chronic stress can convince your body it should be recovering from exertion when, in reality, you have not been expending physical energy. This can lead to weight gain.

Chronically increased cortisol levels mean an increase in appetite and blood glucose levels and a decrease in metabolism. Excess glucose is converted by the body into stored fat, which tends to accumulate around your waistline because those cells are particularly sensitive to cortisol and insulin levels. In addition, cortisol may cause cravings for foods high in sugar and fat. The net result of high cortisol levels may be increased weight, particularly around the midsection.

Photo: Pixabay

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

The terms stress and anxiety are used interchangeably by many people, and everyone will experience both at some point in their life. But although...

It has already been shown many times that adults with mental illnesses often had poor cognitive skills in their youth. What hasn't been...

Acupuncture, a procedure that originated thousands of years ago in China, is becoming an increasingly common choice for treating anxiety and...

While anxiety disorders in children are often overlooked, they are actually the most common childhood psychiatric problem. Children can suffer...

According to new research, T cells—best known for their role in fighting infections—may be one of the key players in elevated blood pressure...

More Articles

For many people, feelings of stress lead to periods of eating high-calorie and high-fat comfort foods. Now scientists are a step closer to knowing...

Librium, known generically as chlordiazepoxide, is a benzodiazepine used to relieve anxiety and to control the agitation that is a side effect of...

Psychological problems associated with nausea and vomiting include anxiety nausea. Nausea and vomiting are, in most cases, harmless....

Anxiety medication is one of the effective treatments for anxiety disorders that have been developed through research. There are two types of...

If you suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder, you probably feel fearful a lot of the time. Don’t let fear and anxiety rule your life!...

If it seems nearly impossible to get something off your mind, your anxiety might be out of control. Getting a handle on your anxiety will allow...

Everyone has concerns in life. Sometimes these concerns become overwhelming and we can become riddled with anxiety. Some people, when overwhelmed...

There are many drugs that are prescribed "off-label" to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions, but what does off-label use actually...

We all know that bullying and other stressful social situations can have lasting effects on a person, but a new study from New York’s Rockefeller...

All of the little things we do to help ourselves gradually allow us to feel and do better.

If you are prone to anxiety, be attentive to how...

Published in the journal Neuron, research suggests that there may be a single protein that can turn cortisol production on and off, one of only a...

A couple dozen people are waiting to board a plane, and at the last minute the flight is delayed...

One person immediately runs up to the...

In what probably doesn't come as a surprise to many people, a research study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports that the...

Social Anxiety Disorder, sometimes called Social Phobia or SAD, involves anxiety and an overwhelming constant self-consciousness in everyday...

There are some situations where showing your anxiety may not be welcome. School, work, and meeting new acquaintances may all be uncomfortable...