Can stress make you fat?

can stress make you fat


You know that feeling way too well. And you are not alone!

Our lives and the world around us are becoming more stressful all the time. Stress causes us a lot of problems.

Multiple studies conducted around Europe shows that stress related problems are one of the most common reasons for long lasting sick leaves from work (Blom et al. 2020).  

Stress can cause you insomnia, mood changes, memory loss, digestion problems and so on.

In case you want to lose some weight, it’s good to know that stress will also destroy your weight loss project! 

Can stress really make you fat ?

The answer to our question can stress make you fat ?


Stress can and will make you fat. 

If you want to know why, please keep reading forward… 

How stress impacts on your weight

Stress can have an impact on your weight.

I´m not talking only about comfort foods you want to eat while you are stressed out.

You know those sugary, fat and or salty treats you crave when you feel like your whole world is in chaos.

These foods might make you feel better for a while but it doesn’t last long. 

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse.

This will create more stress for you and you end up in a vicious cycle.

Stress releases stress hormone which is the main “bad guy” when it comes to keeping at your goal weight. 


Stress hormone

When you feel stressed out, your body creates a hormone called cortisol.

This is the reason why cortisol is called a “ stress hormone”. Cortisol increases your blood sugar which gives your body extra energy. 

This is called the “Fight or flight” reaction.

In the beginning of mankind this was a mechanism that kept us alive. Imagine a situation  where a sabre-toothed tiger attacks you. 

What do you do? You either fight or try to escape. And for that, you need a quick energy rush = plenty of sugar. 

Getting attacked by an animal is an example of a stressful situation that  people faced back then. Your stress is very different but still your body reacts exactly the same. 

Why does stress make you fat? 

Your body can handle short term stress quite well.

But the situation is different when stress turns into long term stress. Cortisol will keep your blood sugars all the time. This can be a case even if you are on keto diet. 

Yes, you read right. You can have high blood sugars even on keto! 

It is good to note that everytime your blood sugar rises, it will make your insulin hormone to spike.

This will create a problem called Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the most common reason for weight problems and obesity. (Fung, 2016).

stress makes you fat


Physical and mental stress

You might think stress as mental discomfort.

And sure it is; money related problems, busy work, tight deadlines, relationships, kids and so on. This type of stress is called mental stress.  

What you should know is that stress can also be physical. Did you know that what you eat can cause this?  Yes, you read right. 

If you eat too many carbs, your blood sugars will go up and down like a roller coaster all day long. This will create stress in your body.

Physical stress will cause you similar symptoms alike mental stress. (Ekberg, 2018). If you want to feel good it is very important to decrease your stress levels.  

Now that you know what stress can do to you, you most likely want to know how to reduce it. 

Decreasing stress is an active process and requires work from you. 

But don´t worry. I’m here to help you <3

I will give you helpful tips for stress reducing techniques and diet instructions in my next blog post 🙂 


Blom, V., Kallings, L. V., Ekblom, B., Wallin, P., Andersson, G., Hemmingsson, E., & Ekblom Bak, E. (2020). Self-reported general health, overall and work-related stress, loneliness, and sleeping problems in 335,625 Swedish adults from 2000 to 2016. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(2), 511.

Dr. Ekberg. (2018). Cortisol and Stress Response (What you must know). Dr Sten Ekberg Wellness For Life.

Dr. Fung (2016). The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. Scribe Publications.

8 thoughts on “Can stress make you fat?”

    1. Thank you for your feedback Taylor. I have experienced this myself too.. 🙁 Now I´m back on tracks again. I´m managing my stress with daily mediation, yoga and keto diet. I will share more info of them in my next weeks post. Hope you will find it helpful <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *