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There has long been an understanding that stress can have a adverse affect on our health generally and so it should come as no surprise that stress is not very good for losing weight .  But why does stress cause us to gain weight or hold onto weight ?  Yet again the answer is in biochemistry and not in our imagination.

When I first moved from law to nutrition I met with a wonderful doctor called Charles Clark who has written many excellent books on losing weight and health.  He was the first to highlight to me  the effect that stress can have on our bodies and how it can not only stop diets working but actually make your body gain weight. 

Stress normally causes us to release a hormone called adrenaline which is designed to prepare the body for flight or fight.  A consequence of releasing adrenaline is a related release of insulin.

Insulin is a very clever hormone which actually turns excess energy into human fat. Without insulin it is impossible to turn energy ( in any form ) into human fat. If a diabetic type one ( ie a person that can not produce insulin) does not take insulin he/she can not gain weight even if they eat lumps of lard all day. Elevated insulin levels more than often  result in the body getting fat. So adrenaline triggers insulin release and that causes us to get fat.

 At the same time when some of us are stressed our body craves instant energy to “ manage” the stress and so we turn to sugar and starch which both give us the instant energy that our bodies crave. The sugar and starch both give rise to a significant  insulin release and yet again we have put our bodies into fat collection mode.

Relax and take control of your insulin.

24 January 2009

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