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The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) is dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of Canadians by empowering individuals with scientifically grounded information on the effects of stress on the brain and body.
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A group of American researchers recently studied the relationship between food and stress to determine whether comfort food was more comforting to highly stressed women.

Fifty-nine healthy female participants were exposed to a social stress task. The women also answered questionnaires about their eating behaviors and stress management.The results indicated that the women with higher perceived stress were more prone to emotional eating and also had higher body mass indices than those with a lower stress level. Also, it was shown that excess abdominal fat dysregulates stress hormone activity. This dysregulation can indicate the presence of chronic stress which was observed by a lower cortisol response following the stress task.

The researchers suggest that future research should measure the quantity of ingested food after the stress task to create a better understanding of the impact of stress on eating behaviors.