Stress and rational nutrition

  • Author: A. Babalyan
  • 25.11.2022
  • Blog

Everyone has reasons for excitement and worries. Someone knows how to control them and not be stressed, and someone does not. But when external factors are connected, global changes in the world occur, something tragic happens in life – even people who cope well with the usual “background” experience stress. And often the events are not of a short-term nature, so the stress turns into chronic. Such a complex and intense psychoemotional overstrain exhausts the nervous system and affects all spheres of life. In this article we will consider its effect on nutrition.

Appetite is a complex set of reflexes. Among them there are basic, tied to the autonomic nervous system, unconscious. Their triggering is inevitable and not controlled. And there are conditioned reflexes, some of them were formed in deep childhood, some in the preschool and school period of life, and the rest replenish the “piggy bank” already in adulthood. A good example is the term “family meals”, which is often used. In fact, it means that part of the eating habits, that is, conditioned reflexes, which was formed during the period when a person could not plan the choice, purchase and cooking himself – his parents did it. Conditioned reflexes continue to control the unconscious, that is, the deep “switches” of appetite and the functions of the gastrointestinal tract, but they can be triggered by fully conscious triggers. The simplest example, which no one perceives as some kind of complex mechanism, is salivation and hunger at the sight of delicious food, especially if a person is close to objective hunger (in other words, “on an empty stomach”). After all, we inevitably look at food before eating it and in the process. This means that the appearance of food triggers everything that triggers its intake itself. The same situation with a smell or a colorful description of it.

The habit of eating while watching videos, TV series or movies also has a conditioned reflex basis.

Stress as a state of “general mobilization of the body” usually and normally suppresses appetite, since “it’s not the time to eat, we are being chased by a predator.” So it happened evolutionarily. However, our very distant ancestors had absolutely no options for chronic stress. The predator either stopped chasing, or our ancestor managed to climb a tree, or he failed and became predator’s lunch. Therefore, in modern realities, the body works somewhat paradoxically. The long-term persistence of a stressful situation leads to a significant expenditure of fat reserves, despite the possible absence of its active expenditure. Fatty acids circulate in the blood, but continue to be mobilized from the depots. There is no “sensor” for this in the body. But the body responds to the consumption from the depots by triggering hunger stress. This gives rise to a rather pronounced feeling of hunger, which cannot be quenched by the usual intake of food, and as a result, a person overeats. Further, according to the principle of super-recovery, the resynthesis of fats occurs in a larger volume than they were consumed.

The result of this process is known – the return of fatty acids from the blood, the addition of them from food and here they are, extra pounds for several weeks of unrest.

What to do?

During stressful meals, try to avoid fats as much as possible, primarily saturated and monounsaturated. The latter, by the way, even includes olive oil. Try not to sit still in stress –walk, do household chores, be in motion.

And what is absolutely prohibited to do?
To make your own decisions about taking medications and fasting.

Be healthy!