Slideshow: Why Do You Eat When You’re Not Hungry?

Do you eat out of true hunger, or is there something else behind your snack sessions? Learn some of the reasons behind your need to nosh.

Hunger, Nervous Energy

6/11/2019 5:30:00 AM

When you're stressed for long periods of time, your level of cortisol, a hormone that plays a part in your 'fight or flight' system, is increased, causing you to want to snack more.

Do you eat out of true hunger, or is there something else behind your snack sessions? Learn some of the reasons behind your need to nosh.

SOURCES:Food & Nutrition: “Binge Eating Disorder: An Introduction to the Most Common Eating Disorder,” “The Vicious Cycle: Sleep, Stress and Diet.”Harvard Health Publishing: “Eating Frequency and Weight Loss,” “Why stress causes people to overeat.”

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Harvard School of Public Health: “3 ways decreased sleep contributes to overeating.”Mayo Clinic: “Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating.”Health Psychology Research: “The Role of Anxiety in Binge Eating Behavior: A Critical Examination of Theory and Empirical Literature.”

Kids Health: “Emotional Eating.”Health Psychology: “Alcohol’s acute effect on food intake is mediated by inhibitory control impairments,” “Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior.”National Institutes of Health: “Diet Quality Worsens as Alcohol Intake Increases.”

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on May 20, 2019This tool does not provide medical advice.See additional information.THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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