Home Health 3 Sneaky Ways Cortisol Causes Weight Gain & How To Manage It

3 Sneaky Ways Cortisol Causes Weight Gain & How To Manage It



Cortisol can increase our appetite through increased production of ghrelin3, our “hunger hormone.” If we are expending the same amount of energy as usual, but taking in more food due to an increase in hunger signals, it can negatively impact weight loss efforts.

We may not notice this change since we’re eating to the same level of “fullness” that we normally do, without realizing we’re consuming a bit more than usual.

Cortisol also stimulates the release of Neuropeptide Y4, a neurotransmitter that promotes cravings for foods higher in calories, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fat. The intake of carbs stimulates the release of serotonin5, one of our “happy hormones”—making them extra appealing during periods of stress and anxiety.

Continued exposure to high cortisol levels can impact the function of the thyroid gland6, which plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism. Chronically elevated cortisol can interfere with the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into its active form (T3), leading to a decrease in metabolic rate.


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