How To Avoid Sugar
Sugar can have negative effects on our health. In fact, its the leading cause of obesity. So, what are some ways to avoid sugar? First, its important to understand that artificial sweeteners are not sugar. They are synthetic compounds that can have positive or negative effects on our health, depending on the amount consumed. Artificial sweeteners dont cause weight gain or other health problems. However, studies have found that they may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Another way to avoid sugar is to reduce how much processed food you eat. Many processed foods contain a lot of added sugar, and these foods can also contain a lot of preservatives, chemicals, and other unhealthy ingredients. So, if youre trying to avoid sugar, its important to consider the foods you eat. You can also cut down on added sugar by using honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Honey is a type of sugar that is naturally found in foods. If you choose to use honey in cooking or baking, its important to look for raw honey that hasnt been processed. This is because the honey is exposed to heat during processing, which can change the composition of the honey. Raw honey also has antibacterial properties, so it can be used as a topical treatment for minor cuts and scrapes.
What Are Cortisol Blockers
Cortisol blockers are supplements/medication designed to decrease high levels of cortisol in patients. These were created because there is actually a syndrome out there called Cushings syndrome, that raises cortisol levels in patients despite lifestyle and diet changes.
The issue we have now is supplement companies are now trying to sell cortisol blockers and claim they help to decrease appetite, lose weight and build muscle. Supplement companies are not regulated by the FDA which means they can make whatever they want, and make whatever claims they wantuntil the FDA steps in.
There is no research to support the idea that cortisol blockers help with weight loss.
Please be smart before buying any kind of cortisol blocker, or any supplement for that matter. The fad diet sphere is still growing, and I encourage you to think..if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Reduce Stress To Reduce Cortisol
High cortisol and weight gain may go hand-in-hand, but cortisol thats elevated due to stress is not beyond your control.
While stress is an unavoidable part of life, how you manage stress can influence whether your cortisol levels remain chronically elevated or decrease to normal levels.
Reducing cortisol is as simple as helping your body recover from stress. And the benefits extend far beyond weight management. When you lower stress and cortisol, you improve every area of your life.
Here are some of the best ways to reduce cortisol levels and manage stress.
Under stressful conditions, exercise becomes essential as a way to complete your stress cycle and stimulate a natural decline in cortisol.
Low-intensity exercise in the blood. If you feel stressed but dont have time to sweat it out, do something low-intensity like a gentle walk, some light stretching, or easy housework.
In contrast, when you engage in moderate or high-intensity exercise, cortisol will initially increase but then gradually decline post-exercise. In addition, higher intensity exercise may released in response to stress, meaning, over time, it has a strong regulatory effect on cortisol levels.
Anyone who deals with regular stress needs to be doing a sweaty workout at least a few times a week. Doing so will train your body to become much more efficient at preventing high levels of cortisol.
Improve Your Sleep
Try these strategies to improve your shut-eye:
Practice Deep Breathing
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How Does Cortisol Effect Men And Women
Just because you are gaining weight, doesnt necessarily mean something is seriously wrong.
It can be something like over-eating high calorie foods like nuts, oils, and butter.
It can mean doing the same exercise routine over and over again, to which you have adapted to and the body is not being challenged enough.
The body is complex, so it can be more than just diet and exercise confusion that is causing weight gain.
If you have evaluated your nutrition and know you are eating in a caloric deficit and your exercise routine is programmed out for progression, then cortisol is likely the culprit. This can be found out by simply getting blood tests done to see all of your hormone levels. Once you know your levels you can either address high/low values or you know 100% that your missing piece lies somewhere else.
Cortisol weight gain is most common among women, but can happen for men as well. Females suffer the most because of the different hormones we have within our bodies and that we tend to take on more stress than males. You know, we are usually running around helping everyone except ourselves and putting ourselves last for everything.
Do Eggs Lower Cortisol
Egg, meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables are some of the foods that can be eaten to lower cortisol levels. If you want to reduce this hormone level, you should avoid high-glycemic-index foods with a lot of sugar or starch.
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Cortisol Can Lead To Weight Gain
Cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, creating a surge of energy in your body. While this process is essential for survival situations, it also increases your appetite. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. This means youre more likely to indulge in french fries and a milkshake than you are a well-balanced meal.
An excess of cortisol also can lead your body to produce less testosterone. This may cause a decrease in muscle mass, as well as slow down how many calories your body burns.
Build More Balanced Meals
âAim to make half your plate the colorful foodsfruits and veggiesand have your protein and grains/starches be the supporting cast members,â says Mandy Enright, M.S., RDN, RYT, author of 30-Minute Weight Loss Cookbook: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes for Sustainable Weight Loss. Most people do the opposite, filling half their plates with protein or grains and having a little bit of vegetables on the side. This simple swap of making half your plate vegetables instead of grains can save you 100-150 calories per meal. âPut emphasis on the timing, quality and quantity of your foods. Our bodies love consistency, so aim to eat around the same time daily. Ideally, plan to eat around every 4 hours. Consume more wholesome foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean sources of protein,â Enright says.
âMake sure your meals contain adequate protein, fiber and fluid volume. These are the components that can help you feel satiated for fewer calories, potentially making it easier to maintain the calorie deficit needed for fat loss,â says registered dietitian, Summer Yule, M.S., RDN. âLook for lean meats, poultry and fish . Non-starchy veggies add a lot of fiber and fluid volume to meals for very few calories. Dairy, eggs, legumes and fruits are some other nutrient-rich components to add to your meals.â
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Busting Stress With A Nutrition
While there are certainly unforeseen event and stressors that we have no control over, we do have choices when it comes to what we put in our mouths each day. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do with your nutrition to reduce high cortisol levels.
First and foremost, keeping your blood sugar level balanced and steady throughout the day keeps cortisol levels in check. To do this, we teach our clients to eat a mix of protein, real-food carbs, and healthy fats several times per day. Most of our client need to eat this combination every 3-4 hours. This prevents our blood sugar from going too high or too low, which in turn prevents a stress response.
How Does Cortisol Affect Your Weight
Do you find yourself reaching for that extra donut at work when rushing a deadline? Or if youre like how I used to be seeking comfort in a big slice of cake whenever the scale reflects numbers that spike anxiety and disappointment?
Yep, cortisol makes you do all that.
- It makes you crave sugary, salty, and fatty foods.
- Cortisol does indeed make you stress eat.
- Its your natural flight or fight response.
- It makes your brain think that you need to load up on food to fight off whatever is causing you stress.
Yep Stress eating is real and its a normal reaction of our body. The weight gain, however, comes in when were chronically stressed and our cortisol levels get stuck on overdrive.
All the more reason to eat the best foods for stress relief to break the cycle!
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High Levels May Promote Overeating
Small rises in cortisol levels in response to stress are normal and not likely to cause negative side effects.
Yet, in certain instances, cortisol levels may remain chronically elevated.
This is usually due to stress or a condition like Cushings syndrome, which causes blood levels of cortisol to remain high (
- insulin resistance
When under chronic stress, it may be difficult to maintain healthful eating habits.
One study in 59 healthy women found an association between elevated cortisol levels and an increase in appetite, which could potentially promote weight gain .
In addition, another study found an association between a higher cortisol response and a higher amount of belly fat in a group of 172 men and women, suggesting that higher cortisol may lead to overeating .
That said, levels of stress and cortisol arent always directly related, thus more data is needed to establish a direct relationship .
Maintaining A Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine can be a useful tool for getting longer and higher-quality sleep. This may involve a combination of relaxing activities that help a person unwind, such as:
- bathing or showering
- reading a book or audiobook
People should get into the habit of turning off all screens and relaxing before heading to bed. For example, it may help to turn off phones and any other potential distractions.
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How To Lower Cortisol Levels
SLEEP TO REDUCE CORTISOL
Sleep is the best way to metabolize and eliminate stress hormones. If youre already feeling exhausted and fatigue eliminate extracurricular activities that drain you.
Tips to ensure better sleep:
- Use blue light blocking glasses Blue light from screens can affect sleep and cause insomnia I recommend these Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Use Melatonin a little goes a long way! Pistachios are also high in melatonin! Pop a small handful 3 hours before bed to help you relax. I like this brand Melatonin 12 mg Fast Dissolve Tablets, Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Gluten Free
- Avoid Alcohol Although relaxing alcohol makes it harder to get the regenerative sleep you need to truly reduce stress.
- Get technology out of your bedroom.
- Use a different bedroom if your partner disrupts your ability to sleep.
OXYTOCIN BREATHING REDUCES CORTISOL IN SECONDS
Oxytocin breathing releases oxytocin, which is the love hormone. Oxytocin calms the stress response and combats cortisol in the body. This technique is best when youre stuck in a situation where you cant leave like, work, in traffic, or at an event thats stressing you out.
- To oxytocin breath: Inhale for 8 counts, hold for 8 and exhale for 8 counts.
- I do this 200 times a day : )
AVOID FOOD WHEN YOURE STRESSED
Eating when youre stressed can start to negatively affect your hunger hormones, namely ghrelin and leptin.
EXERCISE TO REDUCE CORTISOL
SWAP IN HEALTHY CORTISOL & STRESS-REDUCING ALTERNATIVES
What Happens When Cortisol Is High
Over the last 20 years, studies have increasingly revealed that moderate to high cortisol levels may lead to an array of health issues, such as :
- Chronic disease. Long-term increased cortisol may increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
- Weight gain. Cortisol may increase appetite and signal the body to shift metabolism to store fat.
- Lack of energy/difficulty sleeping. It can interfere with sleep hormones which may impact sleep quality and length.
- Difficulty concentrating. Also referred to as brain fog, some people report trouble focusing and lack of mental clarity.
- Impaired immune system. Increased cortisol can hamper the immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections.
- Cushings syndrome. In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushings syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
Elevated cortisol levels can be caused from many underlying issues such as overactivity or cancer of the pituitary or adrenal glands, chronic stress, and medication side effects .
Further, existing chronic disease may lead to higher cortisol levels, causing a chicken or the egg type of scenario .
Therefore, its best to work with a qualified health professional to establish the root cause of your health issues. Along with this, you may want to introduce some effective lifestyle habits that may help you better manage your cortisol levels. Here are some recommendations:
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Sleep For 7 To 8 Hours Every Night
Research shows that getting quality sleep can help regulate cortisol levels.
According to a 16-year study of over 68,000 women, participants who slept for less than 5 hours of sleep each night had higher chances of becoming overweight than those who got 7 hours of sleep or more per night.
In addition to getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, its important that your sleep is deep and uninterrupted. If you notice any problem with your sleeping pattern, see your doctor.
In the meantime, you can use these tips to sleep better.
What Are The Health Risks Of Increased Cortisol
Stress is obviously inevitable in our day-to-day lives and can be triggered by a range of factors. This can include emotional experiences like a breakup, strenuous physical activities, infections, injuries, or even something seemingly mundane like running late or being stuck in traffic. On the other hand, stress can even be beneficial when it elicits a positive response to a stressor. This is known as eustress, and we may experience it while riding a roller coaster, on a first date, or when starting a new job. Regardless of if you experience eustress or distress, it is quite literally impossible to go through life scot free from stress.
But when we are in a state of distress, we may experience either an acute or chronic stress response. An acute state of stress is immediate, intense, and will usually subside once the stressor is no longer present. Think: going to a job interview, being stuck in traffic, or having an argument with your spouse these are all examples of acute stress. While it is normal to experience varying degrees of acute stress, some individuals may experience short-term side effects including:
- Impaired memory and ability to concentrate
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Immune system suppression
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Understand How Insulin Impacts Weight
Insulin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. Made by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for storing blood sugar, or utilizing it, depending upon your bodys needs of the moment. After you eat a large meal, a substantial amount of insulin releases itself into the bloodstream. It also enters the bloodstream as needed throughout the day, ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable.
Another key function of this essential hormone is fat storage. Insulin decides how much fat to store, and how much to convert for energy expenditure. Chronically high levels of insulin can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, which is linked to an uptick in blood sugar as well as continued elevated insulin levels.
Preventing this insulin imbalance is crucial, as it leads to weight gain, and eventually type 2 diabetes. When insulin levels remain high over an extended period of time, obesity and metabolic syndrome are often the unfortunate outcome.
Insulin Resistance And Cortisol
Insulin resistance is another potential problem that can develop due to chronically high cortisol levels. Sustained increases in cortisol, such as from taking steroid medications, can result in insulin resistance. Other causes of insulin resistance include genetics, obesity, and lack of physical activity.
In insulin resistance, the brain and some of the bodys cells have decreased responses to insulin, so too much glucose continues to circulate in the bloodstream.
This can lead to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is sometimes called pre-diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed once insulin resistance results in abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high fasting glucose levels.
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How Does Cortisol Cause Weight Gain
High cortisol is linked to weight gain and obesity, especially around the belly. One study found participants with more weight around their belly area secreted significantly more cortisol when exposed to stressful situations.
But what exactly is going on behind the scenes? Hereâs how the hormone is wreaking havoc with your waistline.
Add More Soluble Fiber To Your Diet
Soluble fiber may help reduce belly fat since it increases satiety and prevents overeating.
Research also suggests that soluble fiber can reduce the number of calories your body stores from your meals.
Researchers in this study found that participants reduced belly fat gain by 3.7 percent, for every 10-gram increase in consumption of soluble fiber, over a period of five years.
Remember to eat high-fiber foods in every meal. Flaxseeds, legumes, avocados, and Brussels sprouts are excellent sources of soluble fiber.
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Weight Gain Ibs Nutritionist Reveals Why Your Cortisol Levels May Be To Blame
Olivia Hartland-Robbins | Editor-in-chief
Posted November 30, 2022
Weight gain, IBS and migraines could be caused by elevated cortisol levels. Nutritionist Kim Pearson explains why and what we can do to reduce stress
For those who still arent sure, cortisol is the bodys main stress hormones and is released by the adrenal glands .
Cortisol helps our body to adapt to a variety of stressful situations. Its involved in a wide range of different processes throughout the body such as, regulating our metabolism, suppressing inflammation and helping to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
some types of stress are prolonged and have a negative impact on the body
Any stressors can influence your bodys release of cortisol these can be emotional, mental or physical.
Some stress, like exercise, is good for you. Its temporary, unlike prolonged stress which is particularly detrimental to the body. The body adapts to the stress it causes and comes back stronger. But some types of stress are prolonged and have a negative impact on the body, such as:
- Psychological stress eg. work, family, partner.
- Alcohol, caffeine and poor blood sugar balance.
- Shift work, disturbed sleep/wake cycle.
So, is cortisol good or bad?
However, in todays society, where its more likely to be a bad driver or our boss causing our stress, physical fighting or fleeing arent such appropriate responses.