How Stress Can Make You Fat

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Your body has a complicated way of helping you deal with stress. You turn on this system when you run away from danger, remove your hand from a hot stove, or argue with a police officer over a speeding ticket. You also use the system when you worry about overdue bills, stress over final exams, or wrestle with a difficult relationship. Through millions of years of adaptation, this stress system helps keep your body in balance and increases your chances for survival.

Scientists have found that when we’re stressed, we release chemicals that help us survive life-threatening situations – even if we’re not in any danger. These chemicals arouse us and get our attention. They mobilize our body fuel stores for explosive metabolism. They stimulate a part of the brain that’s involved in anticipation and rewards, and they generate fear. In ancient humans, these body changes increased…

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