Stress Eating Junk Food? It Could Make Your Anxiety Worse: Study

Be it reaching towards a bag of potato chips whenever you are a little late in submitting an important presentation or indulging in a tub of ice cream in case of heartbreak, it is rather common to find comfort in food. But even though you love to munch while you’re stressed, did you know the aftermath of dress eating junk food?

As per a recent study, while a burger, pizza, or chocolates might seem like a comfortable option, junk food can actually increase the level of anxiety. You might have a moment of relief or satisfaction after binging on unsaturated fats, but instead of fixing the root problem, the researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that they, in fact, exaggerate the symptoms.

The latest study published in Biological Research states, “Obesity, associated with the intake of a high-fat diet (HFD), and anxiety are common among those living in modern urban societies. Recent studies suggest a role of microbiome-gut-brain axis signalling, including a role for brain serotonergic systems in the relationship between HFD and anxiety.”

As per their findings, a high-fat diet impacts three genes that are involved in the production of the happy hormone serotonin. Even though serotonin helps to uplift mood, there are certain subsets of serotonin neurons that can elevate anxiety levels and make you feel worse than you already are.

However, the researchers also inferred that not all fats are harmful. They are just the unhealthy, unsaturated fats that you should avoid, especially when you are stressed. On the other hand, healthy fats that can be found in fish, dry fruits, nuts, olive oil, and seeds act as an anti-inflammatory and are thus beneficial for the brain.

So, while you are stressed or facing anxiety and feel an urge to stress eat, it is best to ditch the options with unsaturated fats. Some healthy options like fruits that have natural sweetness, dry fruits that offer crunch and healthy fats, or a comforting seed pudding can help you process your emotions better.