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This is the important key to avoid getting stressed when you eat

"Stay with who makes you feel what it feels like to give the first bite of a croquette," he wrote. The blonde neighbor, a glamorous influencer and crocheted. There are very popular foods that not only please the palate, but also produce a general sense of well-being. The Anglo-Saxons call us Comfort Food, but this comforting feeling comes at a price: they tend to be high calorie foodsloaded with fats O sugars which precisely stimulate the reward centers of the brain.

So even if a croquette appears even if it comes out of a frozen bag, it is in situations of Anxiety or anxiety when we will be more intensely induced to consume highly palatable and rewarding but nutritionally unbalanced foods. In a society permanently stressed like ours and in which the products are loaded with these same ingredients to hook the consumer, the use of chocolate, ice cream or bags of snacks to "overcome the depression" is very common.

But "one day is a day" we can think: eating what we should not as a consolation for a bad situation can not be so bad if done in a timely manner, we could think. But in reality it is the opposite: It would be convenient to take care of our diet a lot more during stress peaksbecause let's finish getting a lot more eating the same than we would in circumstances of greater emotional stability. So says a new study published in the journal Cellular Metabolism.

While the reward system is giving way to I like, a metabolic pathway linked to insulin production is working against us, says the team HErbert Herzogboss of Laboratory of Eating Disorders of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney"These data indicate that we should be much more aware of what we eat when we are under stress or we will accelerate the development of obesity," says the researcher.

Food consumption is controlled from the hypothalamus, the basic brain region for essential functions. Emotional reactions, including anxiety, are activated in areas known as amygdala. When our body undergoes stress, a third element comes into play, NPY molecule, which is what stimulates the appetite when we are restless. It is also something that happens with mice, so the researchers decided to work with two groups of rodents.

Microscopic image by fluorescence of the amygdala (left) producing NPY (drch). Garvan Institute / Cell Metabolism

Microscopic image by fluorescence of the amygdala (left) producing NPY (drch). Garvan Institute / Cell Metabolism

"What we found is that an individual stressed for a continuous period of time with high calorie foods at their disposal will become obese faster the one who has the same diet, but lives in an unchanged environment, "explains Dr. Kenny Chi Kin Ip, lead author of the study. "In addition, we could verify that when we inhibited the natural production of NPY in the amygdala, the weight gain was reduced. Once the NPY was eliminated, the process of fattening under stress became identical to what happened under quiet circumstances. "

The role of insulin

Why does it happen? Scientists have focused on the nerve cells responsible for producing the molecule. They saw then they had receptors, or "plugs" in their own words, for insulin, one of the hormones responsible for regulating our intake. Under normal circumstances, the body produces when it eats enough to help metabolize ingested sugar – when it is not able to do so, it is when sugar is produced. diabetes– and sends a signal to the hypothalamus that induces satietythat is, it informs the brain that we are already full.

However, they noted, chronic stress in rodents was enough to slightly raise blood insulin levels. This, combined with the high calorie diet, triggered the hormone ten times greater than that of a mouse with a conventional diet and in a calm environment. Over time, these levels of insulin Desensitize nerve endings to their signs. The order to stop eating never arrived and NPY production increased, which also interfered with the calorie "burn" cycle.

"What we have discovered is a vicious circleChronic high-insulin levels triggered by stress and a high-calorie diet encourage us to eat more and more. "This strongly reinforces the idea that if junk food is bad, the high-calorie food consumed under stress makes it "double" when it comes to causing obesity. In addition, we were surprised to see that insulin had such a strong influence on the amygdala. It is increasingly clear that this hormone does not only affect the peripheral regions of the body but regulates brain functions, and we hope to continue to investigate them in the future. "

The caloric meals consumed during the bad mood provide a "chute" of happiness that will require more and more abundant doses, with our health paying the price. You do not have to give up a good burger or a cake, but it would be wiser book them as "reward" whenever possible, once the stress stage is over: for example, when the exams are over. And it does not rule out the psychological component of Comfort food, the emotional satisfaction that comes from tasting the dishes that accompanied us when we grew up. Make the effort to prepare some lentils All life can be a healer on more levels than we suspect.

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