Stress Eating and Finals

Zachary B.

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Pouring another bowl of cereal last week, I found myself asking, is this really necessary? Am I truly hungry or does this bowl of cereal just appeal more to me than studying for next week’s Spanish final? Perhaps this was just stress eating. Stress, as many of you already know, releases that instinctive fight or flight response. What you may not know is that stress may be stimulating your hunger. It’s all thanks to two possible appetite stimulating hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.
Just reading these words on the blackboard next week, you have thirty minutes to complete this exam, may be enough to stimulate these hormones. If you’re breathing a little more rapidly, your senses are keenly sharpened, and you’re feeling a burst of energy, then you’ve probably just experienced a surge of adrenaline. How will your body power this increase in energy and alertness? It’s the carbohydrate breakdown!
Now, we’ll need to start thinking faster. Another hormone, again triggered by the adrenal glands, known as cortisol, will join the game. According to the article, “Stress Can Make You Fat” on, cortisol is important to the stress response because it’s the “master strategist”. The article says, “Cortisol helps us think fast and creatively and make good life-saving decisions.” This hormone, however, will stimulate the breakdown of carbohydrates to fuel that fast thinking energy.

The final result is an increase in appetite, as points out in their article “Stress, Hormones, and Weight Gain”.
So if finals next week make you feel like there’s a saber-tooth tiger in your front yard, just remember that you might be craving some additional glucose. That’s why I’m going to class prepared, of course I’ve done some extra studying, but I also chose the cereal box with this warning: May keep you full to lunch. LOL, I’ll let you know if it works.

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