• Dr Tracey Evans

Are You A Stress Eater?



We know that the Gut and the Brain communicate with each other and this is really important for health and wellness. In fact there is what we call a 'second brain' in the gut, this is our enteric nervous system.


One of the ways they communicate is via the gut microbiome, a very large colony of microbes that reside primarily in the large intestine and colon.


What we now know is that the gut microbiome needs to be correctly balanced in favour of more 'helpful' bacteria than 'harmful' bacteria. This balance can then promote health and wellbeing, in fact the role of gut microbiome is being explored in diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Autism along with stress, anxiety and depression.


This post may be important for you, if you are a comfort eater.


Do you use foods to push down or avoid uncomfortable feelings? Emotional eaters are driven to seek out food during times of stress, this is usually in the form of cravings and intrusive thoughts of food). The problem is that the foods cravings are very often in the form of high calorie foods - i.e. high fat, sugar & processed. These may include crisps, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, sweets, pastries and pies.


The issue with having a diet rich in these foods is that they can alter the balance of the microbes in the gut and shift it into imbalance (gut dysbiosis). As I said above, the balance of microbiome is important for health and wellness.


What we know


1. We know that the gut microbiome can help regulate hormones that tell us we are full - appetite suppressors. This is positive and contributes to a healthy relationship with food.


2. We also know that our ability to manage stress/emotions/anxiety is influenced by our gut microbiome. Poor gut health is associated with higher stress/anxiety and also irritable bowel-like symptoms.


Why is this a problem?


So, if we are in dysbiosis, you may find these signals are altered and therefore:


1) Your satiety signals are disrupted so you eat more


2) Your ability to manage stress effectively may be altered and this feeds into a vicious cycle of stress -> eat -> stress -> eat


Does this resonate with you?


If the answer is yes, there are several ways that this can be addressed. If I were working with you, I would be a) looking to get your gut into a good shape b) identify the root cause of the stress that is causing altered eating habits c) I would give you the tools to manage stress in a more productive way d) I would help you improve your relationship with food.


Is it your time for change so you can improve your relationship food and live a life free from the shackles of emotional eating? If so, reach out and I will be there waiting for you.

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