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Is stress increasing your food cravings?

Washington, Dec 24: Can you go to any extent to fulfil you craving for a tasty bar of chocolate or cakes when you're low? It could be because you're stressed, says a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition. Researchers suggest that those who are stressed can go to great lengths to satisfy their desire to indulge, such as running to a departmental store at midnight just to have a drink or sweets.

According to one of the study authors Tobias Brosch from University of Geneva in Switzerland, stress plays an important role in psychological disorders and is one of the most important factors determining relapses in addiction, gambling and binge eating.

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When you're stressed, your entire functioning is flipped. Under stress, if you encounter an image or a sound associated with a pleasant object, your brain may drive you to invest an inordinate amount of effort to obtain it,' Brosch added. But the researchers also found that stressed people would not enjoy the reward more than anyone who is not stressed and has the same treat just for pleasure. (Read: Which of these 10 symptoms of stress do you have?)

'Most of us have experienced stress that increases our craving for rewarding experiences, such as eating a tasty bar of chocolate, and it can make us invest considerable effort in obtaining the object of our desire,' lead author Eva Pool, a doctoral student at University of Geneva, said. 'But while stress increases our desire to indulge in rewards, it does not necessarily increase the enjoyment we experience,' Pool said. In an experiment, researchers found that stress prompted chocolate lovers to exert three times as much effort to smell chocolate than unstressed chocolate lovers. (Read: Expert tips to reduce stress and keep your heart healthy)

But both groups reported about the same level of enjoyment when they got a whiff of the pleasing aroma, the findings showed. For the experiment, researchers recruited 36 university students, of whom 19 were men, who said they love chocolate. (Read: 4 ways stress is damaging your heart)

Source: IANS

Photo source: Getty images


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