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How Emotional Eating Can Be Harmful To Your Health

Emotional eating is something that 38% of adults have reported engaging in under times of stress and anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. Additionally, half of those adults report engaging in these behaviors on a weekly basis or more.

However, continual emotional eating can be extremely harmful to your health down the road as you can develop obesity, which can lead to other health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Let’s break it down a bit more and analyze what other health problems can come up as a result of long-term emotional eating.

Rapid weight gain

It’s no secret that binge-eating and emotional eating can cause rapid weight gain as the most common factor. Additionally, if you’re emotionally eating because of stress, that stress on top of your excessive eating can mess with your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight (and easier to gain it.)

Insulin Sensitivity and Diabetes

Insulin sensitivity and diabetes are two things that can occur long-term when emotionally eating. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are both directly linked to overeating and emotional-eating. Because insulin helps control the amount of sugar in the blood, it causes a build-up of glucose, which can then lead to type 2 diabetes. A healthier diet and weight loss and exercise can help reverse insulin resistance.

Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure, which can often be reversed with a decent diet and exercise. In more moderate to severe cases, medication may need to be involved. Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases directly related to the heart that can cause heart failure or a heart attack. These two things are both directly correlated in that they both affect the heart.


Stress can activate the hormone cortisol, causing it to rise during times of high tension. Increased levels of the hormone can cause higher insulin levels and your blood sugar to drop, meaning you’re more likely to crave something unhealthy and emotionally eat trigger foods. Extra abdominal fat long-term is unhealthy for anyone with any body type, so it’s recommended to treat your stress in healthy ways such as meditation instead of using emotional eating to cope with the stresses of life.

The Main Takeaway

Now that you know all the ways emotional eating can be harmful to you down the road, you can take action right now to stop emotional eating and choose much healthier, balanced options. The best ways to offset things such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. are to identify your trigger feelings and trigger foods, make the effort to resist the urge, and surround yourself with healthier foods and develop those healthier habits!

~Shelly Werts

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1 Comment

Apr 23, 2021

I struggle with this issue. Food gives me a sense of comfort and control. I am slowly trying to pay attention to triggers and eat a carrot instead of potato chips. I want a healthy lifestyle and longevity. I know I need to change and I am serious about making it happen.

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