Study: Eating During Stress Causes Weight Gain

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Study: Eating During Stress Causes Weight Gain

Eating during periods of stress can cause weight gain as it triggers the brain to keep on consuming food, a new study unveiled.

The experiment, published in the Journal Cell Metabolism, examined the link between mice behavior and weight gain by inducing stress through isolation and the replacement of their bedding with a thin layer of water. On the other hand, other mice were placed in a relaxing, stress-free environment.

Researchers noted that stressed mice ate much more than the unstressed ones.

It was discovered that in cases of stress, the brain's function controlling appetite and hunger, known as hypothalamus, and the one controlling emotional responses, amygdala, generate a molecule (neuropeptide Y) that stimulates food consumption.

Moreover, insulin levels were 10 times higher in stressed mice than in stress-free ones, turning the brain dull to amygdala, thus, increasing food consumption.

"Lack of food and starving is stressful, so eating higher amounts under these conditions can be a survival advantage," senior author and head of the Eating Disorders laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Herzog, told Live Science.