Stress and your weight

Here’s episode 6 of the “Skinny on Obesity” series. It’s more conventional thinking than before: Stress makes you eat more.

Thats’s probably true, but it almost misses a bigger point. What kind of food do we eat in a “fast-paced, fast food life”? The food that is available everywhere, 24-7. The high sugar, high starch industrial food.


  1. gallier2
    There's also another point that should be made. It's not only stress that induces eating, it goes also the other way. Food induces stress, especially high-carb foods. Cortisol is the stress hormone and it definitly goes up when eating chronically high-carb. During fasting times between that are longer than usual (night sleep) the body needs a lot of glucose. The simple way to get it is via gluconeogenesis which is in fact a stress response. Professor Lutz explained it well in its pioneering book.
  2. Paul
    Once again, cortisol is being bashed. Yet the Whitehall II study linked below showed that a normal cortisol profile is more protective against cardiovascular disease mortality than a low cortisol profile. Also, if low grade inflammation underlies much chronic illness, then why are we not looking at the merits of nature's own anti-inflammatory (instead of a man-made one: statins)?


  3. John Myers
    I wonder what Dr. Lustig, who has an understanding of the endocrine system, would say about cortisol's role in obesity. He doesn't mention it - he just sets up this segment.
  4. Interesting stuff Paul. Thank you for the link
  5. Most certainly a chicken-egg conundrum. I know from my own experience that the more stress I had, the less I slept, the more I craved carb foods, and it became an self-perpetuating cycle that only got worse until I cut out most of the carbs, and all the sugars-grain-artificial sweet triad of hormonal disfunction.
  6. I live a very stressful life. Prior to six months ago I was frequently on the boarder of depression. I'd sometimes pig out on fast food as a way to try and feel better. Then I discovered LCHF. Almost immediately my mood stabilized and my busy life seemed no longer to stress me out. I've lost 50 lbs. in those six months. I feel great and my mood has never been better. The rigors of my "stressful" life are still there but I don't ever feel stressed. I'm rarely hungry and I enjoy eating great food more than ever. At this point, after studying all the info I could find on LCHF and its health effects over the last six months as well as experimenting on myself, I am never going back to a low fat/ high carb diet. The first thing to disappear were the mood depressions then the weight. My BMI is now 22 and stable. Want to cut the stress from your life? Go LCHF!
  7. Like the video said, being mindful is a big key to stress and weight, and many other factors in life!
    Good for you, Cate!
  8. I've been reading a lot about adrenal fatigue lately. When you are stressed you release more cortisol, but after a while your adrenal glands become exhausted and you end up with low cortisol. I think there needs to be more work on this area. I gained weight while under stress and I was not eating more. I am now eating more to try and repair my body, get healthy and lose weight again (ref Dr Wilson). Fingers crossed.
  9. Will
    OT: Are chia seeds allowed on LCHF? Nutritional info by 100 grams: Carbs: 43.9 / from dietary fiber: 37.7g / from sugar: 0 grams. If the carbs are not from fiber and not from sugar... then 43.9-37.7 = 6.2 grams... what is the makeup of these 6.2 net carb grams? is the LCHF rule 5 net carbs per 100grams?
  10. Zepp
    Probably starch?

    You know, this 5% rule is a very simple beginners advice, its probably more important how many grams you eat of an perticaly food!

    So its about how many gram of carbs you eat and can coop with!

    And I think that wee almots use Chia as a laxative??

  11. PJ
    @ Jo I completely agree with you. When I'm under stress, I lose my appetite, eat less (never junk food anyway) and gain weight. I, too, am in the process of recovering from some intense stress over the last few months by eating more (healthy foods, of course) and taking adrenal and thyroid supplements. I'm still a bit pooped, but things are looking up.
  12. Alexandra M
    Whoa, whoa, whoa - "When we are stressed we crave calorie dense foods." Beef tallow is a "calorie dense" food. French fries and popcorn are not "calorie dense." They are, however, fattening due to their effect on insulin.

    I do believe in the stress factor, though. My husband is a teacher and works at least 15 hours a day and rarely gets more than 5 hours sleep per night and in spite of the fact that I prepare (very) low carb breakfasts and lunches and dinners for him, he still feels that he is inexorably gaining weight.

  13. shums
    I have really looked forward to this entire series and I have been watching it even before it was posted on here. I have to say I am really disappointing with the turn this series has taken. It seems to conclude that government control is the answer to obesity. Yet it would seem we low carb folks know better than that. We can make different choices and make a difference. If enough of us do that the choices we have available will get better. I am already starting to see that happen in my small town and let me tell you that we are normally behind the times. Not on the cutting edge at all.

    This series just seems to leave me with the feeling that I can't do anything about obesity myself but that instead I need the government to do it for me. It is all hopeless and we just need to call our government to solve another problem. They do such a great job at doing that by the way (sarcasm). To me it just goes against the wonderful empowerment and "can do" attitude that I get when I read all of the great low carb blogs like this one.

    I am working with several people right now just as friends to help them achieve the weight loss and health gain that I have been able to achieve doing a low carb and high fat diet. Your videos have been a wonderful help Doctor. I won't be sharing The Skinny on Obesity videos with them because I don't see it helping them.

  14. BA
    I think that these psychological aspects to eating are highly exaggerated. In my personal experience, there is no benefit to being "mindful" about eating, it's simply a matter of reducing carbohydrates, end of story.

    No animal in the wild has to be "mindful" about eating. When an animal is eating the natural diet that it evolved to eat, it experiences the correct hormonal regulation of appetite. Human beings are no different whatsoever.

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