The human body reacts to perceived threats by secreting hormone such as cortisol as part of the natural fight or flight response. In short bursts, this hormone is beneficial, providing energy, increased immunity, and heightened memory. However, prolonged periods of raised cortisol activity are very destructive, resulting in high blood pressure, lower immunity and impaired cognitive function.
When the body becomes stressed, cortisol causes glucose to be released into the bloodstsream as a quick source of energy. Centuries ago, this energy would have come in handy to our ancestors, who would have come in handy to our ancestors, who would have needed the extra strength to avoid or battle a predator. In modern humans, however, whole sources of stress don’t generally require such a response; now this glucose goes unused and is eventually stored as fat.
Cortisol also creates an imbalance between the aforementioned hormone leptin and the hormone gherlin, as well as the amino acid neuropeptide, all of which regulate appetite.
This imbalances stimulate hunger and encourages energy to be stored as fat. When stress becomes chronic, it can easily contribute to abdominal obesity.