How to Control Stress Induced Eating

Stress can cause many adverse reactions.  While stress causes many internal reactions in the fight or flight response, it can also cause adverse reactions in how one copes with stress.  One adverse reaction and bad coping method is eating.  Many individuals will take consolation in food or late night binges to overcome anxiety and stress.  This not only compounds the issues that arise with chronic stress but also leads to poor diet choices and weight gain.  Bad sugar and cholesterol choices are also a result of spur of the moment stress eating. Other forms of Stress Management need to be implemented to reduce stress induced eating.

Stress induced eating can cause havoc to one’s diet and overall health. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


The article, “Why You Stress Eat and How To Stop” from the the Cleveland Clinic takes a closer look at the problems that come with stress induced eating.  The article discusses why individuals stress eat but also looks at methods to better control.  The article lists other stress relief models but also cognitive responses to help distract one from stress induced eating.  The article states,

“If stress eating doesn’t actually improve your stress levels, what does? It goes back to the stress itself. “Stress eating is about escaping your feelings, pushing them away,” Dr. Albers explains, “so the key to getting a handle on it is understanding your stress better.” But with intentionality and effort, you can break the habit and form new ones in its place. “Forming new habits in response to stress takes time, but it is possible,” she adds.”

“Why You Stress Eat and How To Stop”. HealthEssentials. January 26th, 2023. Cleveland Clinic

To read the entire article, please click here


Stress can push individuals to eating when they should not be eating.  Whether late or night or something bad for one’s diet, stress eating can become a large issue.  Stress Management Specialists can help individuals find better ways to manage stress and avoid stress induced eating.

Stress has been studied extensively and is known to have a significant effect on one’s eating habits. It has been postulated that when exposed to a stressful situation, individuals are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating habits due to the psychological response of increased cortisol levels and decreased serotonin levels. This can result in an increase in food-seeking behavior and an increase in the consumption of unhealthy, high-calorie foods which could lead to weight gain.  In particular, individuals under chronic stress often engage in binge eating, which is characterized by an increased amount of food intake over short periods of time and involves episodes of elevated emotions such as guilt or shame following the episode.

People who are under persistent stress may seek out food as a coping mechanism. This phenomenon is likely a result of the body’s physiological response to stress, which includes elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to appetite stimulation. Additionally, other hormones released during periods of stress such as ghrelin can further induce hunger. This may be accompanied by an emotional craving for comfort foods that are seen as providing psychological nourishment or solace in times of distress.  Intermittent periods of psychological stress can also result in an increase in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to increased cortisol secretion. This can cause activation of hedonic pathways and reward centers in the brain, resulting in an increased drive for consumption of palatable food items. Furthermore, individuals who are stressed may also exhibit maladaptive coping strategies which involve the consumption of food as a form of emotional regulation.

Stress Management and Eating

Learning better stress management coping strategies can help prevent stress eating


In order to cope with stress eating, it is pertinent to alter one’s cognitive appraisals of stressors, develop a repertoire of coping skills, and cultivate an awareness of one’s emotional state. This can be achieved through various cognitive-behavioral techniques such as mindfulness meditation and exposure to positive stimuli. Additionally, refraining from calorie-dense snacks and substituting them with healthier alternatives can also reduce the prevalence of stress eating. While overeating may be an effective short-term solution, it is not the only available option for managing feelings of anxiety. Other means of dealing with stressful situations include cognitive reframing, mindfulness meditation, and diaphragmatic breathing. Cognitive reframing involves actively shifting one’s perspective in order to gain insight into their underlying thought patterns.


In conclusion, stress eating is a common response to feeling overwhelmed or anxious. It is important to recognize when this type of behavior is happening so that steps can be taken to address it. Managing stress in healthy ways, such as exercise, can help reduce the likelihood of stress eating. Additionally, having a support system and being mindful of your emotions can help you make healthier choices. Avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms like stress eating will help us maintain a healthy relationship with food and avoid feeling guilty or ashamed.  Finally, if you find yourself turning to food for comfort more than usual, it may be time to seek professional help.  Many counselors who specialize in Stress Management Consulting can help an individual better cope and find alternative ways to deal with stress instead of eating.

There are better ways to cope with stress than eating. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it matches your goals


Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.


Additional Resources

“Tips to Manage Stress Eating”. Erin Gager.  John Hopkins Medicine.  Access here

“Why stress causes people to overeat”. Harvard Medical School. February 15th, 2021. Access here

“Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating”. Mayo Clinic Staff. December 2nd, 2022. Access here

“13 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating When You’re Stuck at Home”. Jillian Kubala. March 27th, 2020.  Access here

“Here’s Why You Stress Eat — And How to Stop Doing It”. Jamie Ducharme. July 31st, 2018.  Access here

Stress and Better Diet

Stress is something everyone deals with and cannot escape but that does not individuals must become victims to it.  Chronic stress is a large problem in the modern world and through simple stress management techniques, stress can be reduced.  However, diet also plays a key role.  Maintaining a healthy diet can keep the body healthy and immune system stronger.  In addition, there are a variety of herbs and teas that can also supplement diet to help the body deal with daily stress.

Better balance, supplements and diet can help the body ward off negative effects stress.


The article, “How your diet can help reduce anxiety and stress naturally” from the Life Style Desk of  The Indian Express takes a closer look at certain dietary habits that can help strengthen the immune system and reduce stress.  The article recommends fibers, carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins in proper proportion.  Until the ultimate culprit of stress is identified, a proper diet can help the body fight off sickness caused by stress.  The article states,

“In today’s time, stress and anxiety have become increasingly common. While there are many asanas, workouts, and medications to manage the same, experts believe that eating a balanced diet can also help in myriad ways. “Being stressed or anxious is the body’s way of telling you to slow down, take some time, and reduce the pressure. If left unattended, this pressure goes up to the brain and interferes with the body’s daily responses and concentration levels,” said Ishti Saluja, a nutritionist.”

“How your diet can help reduce anxiety and stress naturally” LifeStyleDesk.  November 14th, 2022. TheIndianExpress.

To read the entire article, please click here


Understanding that stress weakens the body physically, especially the immune system, it is important to fortify the body with good diet and supplements.  When the body is in the fight or flight response, it produces cortisol and other hormones that prepare the body for conflict.  Muscles tighten, heart rate increases, and mental alertness increases.  This over a long period of time can cause damage to the body and weaken it.  Good diet can help the body fight off the negative effects of chronic stress.

Diet and Stress

The relationship between stress and diet is a complex one. Diet can influence stress levels, and vice versa. For example, someone who is dieting may be more likely to experience stress due to the restrictions placed on their eating. And someone who is under a lot of stress may be more likely to turn to comfort foods or overeat.
There is some evidence that certain nutrients can help to reduce stress levels.

There are many types of foods that can help reduce stress levels. Some examples include:
1. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: These nutrients are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), flaxseeds, and chia seeds.  2. Foods high in magnesium: Magnesium helps to relax the body and mind. 3. Foods containing probiotics: Probiotics have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.

There are a number of supplements that have been traditionally used for stress relief. These include herbs such as chamomile and valerian, as well as nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin B. While there is some scientific evidence to support the use of these supplements, it is generally considered to be weak.  Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, probiotics, and Ashwagandha are all examples of supplements that have been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels.

Among two of the most useful herbs for stress are Chamomile and Valerian. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a dried flower that can be found pre-packaged at most health food stores. When brewed as a tea, chamomile is thought to be a relaxant, can be helpful in restoring insomnia, and be a soothing detoxifier of the gut. Chamomile tea infusion has demonstrated anti-anxiety properties in animal studies and shown to be effective in treating human anxiety disorders.  Valerian is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including stress. The active ingredients in valerian are thought to be volatile oils and valerenic acid, which have sedative and anxiolytic effects. A number of studies have shown that valerian can reduce stress and improve sleep, although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood.


In conclusion ,stress and diet are two important factors that go hand-in-hand. When you are feeling stressed, it is important to eat healthy foods that will help you manage your stress levels. Herbs can help to reduce stress and improve overall health. There are a variety of herbs that can be used, and it is important to find the right one for each individual. With the help of herbs, people can reduce stress and improve their health.  Likewise, when you are following a healthy diet, it is important to manage your stress levels so that you can stay on track. by following these simple tips, you can help improve your overall health and well-being.

Before trying any herbs or dietary changes be sure to consult a physician to ensure you are following the right procedure for yourself.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.  Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic Nursing Program as well.

Additional Resources

“Strengthening the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress through Diet and Nutrition: Considerations during the COVID-19 Crisis”. Mohammed Iddir, etc. al. May 27th, 2020.   Nutrients 2020.   Access here

“Probiotics as Beneficial Dietary Supplements to Prevent and Treat Cardiovascular Diseases: Uncovering Their Impact on Oxidative Stress”. Elisardo C. Vasquez, etc. al. May 7th, 2019. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Access here

“The 13 Best Herbs for Stress”. Siobhan Mendicino. October 7th, 2022. The Botanical Institute. Access here

“How to Use Herbs for Anxiety and Stress”. Tiffany La Forge. December 10th, 2021. Healthline.  Access here