A nutrition and dietetics recently shared practical tips on how to manage stress eating without stressing out.
Dr. Pelin B. Belino, Professor III of the Benguet State University (BSU), said that among the tips to manage stress eating include the observance of proper nutrition of food, eat regularly, have enough sleep and have regular exercise.
Belino was one of the speakers during the Health Webinar Series 2 spearheaded by the cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR) in partnership with the Cordillera Media Educators on Nutrition which was attended by more than 300 information officers of government agencies, local governments and private companies.
She explained that stress eating is eating when one’s body is in a state of stress or hyperarousal like tensed muscles, shortness of breath and possible fatigue It often comes from a trigger or event that prompts someone to turn to food as a sense of comfort and then causes distress to the person experiencing it.
The BSU professor claimed that studies show that stressful events activate systems associated with metabolism, cognition and reward. During a stressful event, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that helps the body protect itself.
She added that women with high chronic stress levels tend to engage in emotional eating. In addition to psychological responses to stress, there may also be physiological responses.
According to her, emotional eating casts a slightly wider net that can include eating when feeling stress but also when feeling anxious, depressed, sad, nervous, worried, bored, or even to celebrate something positive.
Based on the results of a study conducted on the eating habits of BSU nutrition and dietetics students, it showed that students are academically stressed, students have eating behaviors and students are engaged in different eating behaviors when academically stressed.
Belino disclosed that many people have experienced the sensation of relief from a forkful of cozy pasta, a sweet scoop of ice cream or the satisfying crunch of potato chips after a particularly stressful day, thus, food can be more than just fuel and turning to heavier meals or extra snacks, even when one is not actually hungry can be a completely normal human response.
Belino underscored that stress eating can result in reduce food variety consumed, sub-optimal nutrients intake among others.
She quoted a study from the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences which stated that timing may play a role in appetite and gut hormone responses to meal and stress challenges.
Further, it showed that the afternoon/evening may be a high-risk period for overeating, particularly when paired with stress exposure, and for those with binge eating. It means that the home or evening meal may be a period when a person has a greater likelihood to eat more than they should.