There is now a lot of evidence that shows that stress and belly fat are related. Getting a fat belly can occur as a result of stress. A positive association between belly fat and stress has been shown.
It is perhaps because the hormone cortisol is released during stress, and a high level of cortisol in the body appears to stimulate the storage of fat around the belly and abdomen. It also appears that pot belly is most likely to build up in stressed men of any age, and older stressed women.
While there is evidence that stress contributes to overweight and obesity problems, it’s not known exactly why and how this happens. Despite this lack of information a number of firms have exploited the link between stress and belly fat to market pills that claim that you can achieve fat loss if you achieve lower levels of stress hormones.
Evidence of association of belly fat with stress
Evidence from animal studies demonstrated that stressed rats ate less healthy food and swallowed more sugar water.Research using volunteers has demonstrated a biological link between stress and the drive to eat more food. High calorie foods that are rich in sugar, fat, and calories seem to reduce the effect of how your body responds to chronic stress making it desirable to eat more food during stress. This leads to weight gain and a belly pouch providing more evidence for stress and belly fat link. You will be more stressed if you work in a very competitive, fast paced, demanding, environment. Suppose you have an ever nagging spouse or kids who do all what makes run way from home or even lose sleep. You will be well stressed. Even stress from children or spouse can drive you to eat more junk food than you really should.
There is a study which showed that women with abdominal fat consistently secreted more cortisol in response to stressful tasks, compared to women who had more fat stored around the hips.
Cortisol and stress
If you have chronically high cortisol levels, it may damage your neurons in the brain and interfere with neuro-transmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are responsible for feel-good experiences. Damage of your neurons can lead to depression.
Supplement makers have tried to cash in on the research by offering herbal remedies they claim will lower cortisol levels and help people fat loss.This is despite the absence of convincing evidence from clinical studies.
The mechanism that causes the body to accumulate abdominal fat is likely to be far more complicated than we think. In our opinion if you do not exercise and you are stressed everyday, you will not lose fat in the abdominal area no matter what supplements you you take. The abdominal area has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for the stress hormone cortisol .
Usually there is a rise and fall of cortisol levels throughout the day. However when you’re under constant stress, the amount cortisol you produce remains elevated. If you have high stress you will also have high cortisol levels and therefore, more fat will be deposited in the abdominal area because it has more cortisol receptors. From this we would not expect significant fat loss without exercise or reduction in the calories taken in the diet. We would however not expect to see an increase in fat. Pills that restore normal levels of cortisol will not affect the fat that is already stored. High cortisol levels can also increase muscle protein breakdown and therefore decrease strength.
You can lower your cortisol levels by using free effective natural methods that can reduce stress. These will include physical exercise, improved sleep quality and relaxation exercises among others.