Your stress levels could be making you fat.

Your stress levels could be making you fat.

Can controlling your cortisol levels also help you lose weight? The answer is a definitive yes. Most people, who have been struggling with their weight for years, already know that there is a big connection between too much stress and rising cortisol levels causing the fight or flight response to cause anxiety. However, too much of the hormone cortisol can also cause weight gain and eventual obesity

How Does Cortisol Cause Weight Gain?

How exactly does cortisol cause obesity? In order to give you extra physical energy to escape the threat that your mind perceives, your adrenal glands secrets cortisol which in turn stimulates the release of glucose, amino acids and fatty acids into the blood. When this happens too often, the metabolism floods like an engine, and begins depositing all of the excess glucose and fat into your blood and then into your tissues. Cortisol also triggers the production of Leptin, a hormone that triggers hunger and Ghrelin, a hormone that makes you crave fatty comfort foods.

To make things worse, a lot of this fat is deposited deep into the tissues that surround your organs in the abdominal cavity, which is the hardest type of fat to get rid of. So many people today suffer from such terrible chronic stress due to pollution, working long hours and coping with negative news, people and situations that it is easy to see why so many people in this society are just getting fatter.

How to Reduce Your Cortisol Levels

  1. Avoid consuming stimulants such as cola, coffee or alcohol, which drive your adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol. This happens because these foods contain caffeine, a direct nervous system stimulant and also because dehydrating substances like these also trigger the release of glucose.
  1. Eat lean protein and avoid eating refined, simple carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. These “white carbs” are turned immediately into glucose when they hit your body. Lean protein, in the form of poultry, fish, beef, whole grains and nuts, provides your nervous system with the protein, vitamins and minerals needed to help you stay calm.
  1. Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Produce with vivid colors is rich with antioxidants and flavonoids help counteract the action of cortisol so that when you do experience stress, less fat ends up in your abdominal cavity.
  1. Be sure to get enough sleep. Without sleep, you not only raise your cortisol levels but the increased leptin levels also cause you to overeat, as a way to help you feel less anxious and fatigued. The result is usually a huge intake in food that causes weight gain.
  1. Practice meditation, Tai Chi or yoga for stress reduction. If you want to reduce your stress naturally, you need to find a mindful practice, such as meditation, yoga or Tai Chi to help you directly reduce how much cortisol your adrenalin glands produce. These practices also help extend the number of hours you sleep at night as well as improve your mood, so that you are handling any stress that does come you way with less anxiety.

For more information about naturally reducing stress through biofeedback or herbs or to book a consultation about weight-loss, naturopathic testing, acupuncture sessions for stress or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at

or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.



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