Why Do We Crave Comfort Foods?

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 why, and consequently closer to developing ways to help treat and prevent stress-related obesity.

Led by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center, a recent mouse study suggests that the "hunger hormone" ghrelin plays a role in stress-induced indulgence in comfort foods. "This helps explain certain complex eating behaviors and may be one of the mechanisms by which obesity develops in people exposed to psychosocial stress," said author Dr. Jeffrey Zigman.

In the research study, normal mice placed under social stress responded by gravitating toward a chamber they knew contained comfort food, while mice genetically engineered not to respond to stress-induced increases in ghrelin did not. "Our findings show that ghrelin signaling is crucial to this particular behavior and that the increase in ghrelin which occurs as a result of chronic stress is probably behind these food-reward behaviors," Dr. Zigman explained.

While this response to stress may have provided a survival advantage for earlier humans, in modern society it seems to be more detrimental, leading to obesity and health problems. As researchers better understand how ghrelin and stress interact, we may find new ways to protect our healthy by modifying these stress-induced eating behaviors.

Source: Medical News Today
Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

Living with anxiety is no easy task; being able to reduce and control your anxiety makes handling the disorder easier. Whether or not the...

Just because a thought visits your mind does not mean it is true. Negative thoughts about yourself and speculation about what’s going to happen...

The University of Central Florida newspaper published an article about an interesting clinical trial at the UCF Anxiety Disorders Clinic in the...

The terms panic attack and anxiety attack are used interchangeably by most people, but are panic and anxiety really the same thing?

Panic...

While anxiety can be a disorder in itself, it is also known to be a symptom of a number of physical disorders and illnesses. Before beginning...

More Articles

Children with social phobias are more likely to be judged as less attractive by their peers than those without anxiety disorders, according to a...

There are several ways right in your home to lift your spirits, reduce anxiety, and invite more restful sleep. Based on my own experiences and...

The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, produce a variety of essential hormones. When these glands don't produce enough of one or more of...

An individual who avoids situations that could cause him or her to experience intense fear may fit the diagnostic criteria for agoraphobia. This...

Risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic sold under the brand name Risperdal, is a medication typically used to treat schizophrenia, manic...

It is true that what we eat affects our mood but also true that our mood affects how our food is digested. Thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and our...

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, sounds like a good name for an avatar in a fantasy game, but it is already the name of an herb...

What is an Anxiety Disorder? An “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term that refers to a number of different mental health conditions. While...

We all know some people are better listeners than others. Excellent listeners give their full attention to whoever is talking. Those who are not...

Practicing small daily rituals that bring comfort, inspiration, beauty, tranquility, or encouragement into our life anchors us, and can help...

Sleep anxiety is a generalized worry about getting enough sleep or quality sleep. Like other types of anxiety, it feeds on itself so that the...

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, no matter how severe it is, you know the detrimental effects it can have on your mental state.

...

If you're suffering from anxiety, one of the first things you should do is see a doctor to make sure your anxiety isn't a symptom of an underlying...

Anxiety sufferers in the 21st century have a relatively new avenue of help and support: the Internet. As more and more people turn to Google first...

The first step in managing anxiety stomach pain is determining the nature, and causes of your discomfort.

For the best treatment, anxiety...