In the first part of this series on diabesity, we “got under the hood” to look at the underlying mechanisms of both obesity and diabetes. We’ve now moved on to discussing the environmental and lifestyle risk factors that drive these conditions. In the last article we learned about the top 3 dietary causes of diabesity. In this article, we’re going to see how stress can independently cause both obesity and diabetes.
A huge – and I mean huge – amount of research over the past two decades shows that stress causes both obesity and diabetes in a variety of ways. Studies also show that stress makes it hard to lose weight. This is one reason why some people just can’t seem to lose weight no matter how well they eat or how much they exercise. I believe stress is one of the most important – yet most often ignored – factors driving the diabesity epidemic.
Stress is a bigger problem than you think
Hans Selye, the famous physiologist who coined the term “stress”, defined it this way:
…the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it.
The prominent psychologist Richard Lazarus offers a similar definition:
…any event in which environmental demands, internal demands, or both tax or exceed the adaptive resources of an individual…
Most people only think of psychological stress when they hear the term “stress”. When asked what causes stress, they might say things like losing a job, having a fight with your spouse, driving in traffic or getting audited by the IRS. Read more...