Is cortisol making you fat?
Have you ever wondered if cortisol makes you put on weight?
Some of you might have heard of the hormone called cortisol, some might have not.
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenals in response to a stressor of some sort or low blood sugar.
And it is often associated with high levels of fat around the abdominals.
So is this hormone to be blamed for our weight gain and that middle-aged spread?
I think blame might be a strong word but it can play a part in preventing weight loss. I hope you have noticed that I used the word weight loss and not fatloss because they are very different.
Because cortisol has nothing to do with stopping fat loss directly but it can hamper weight loss.
Cortisol works by actually breaking down carbohydrates and fatty acids when there is a stress for immediate energy. So by nature, it Is a catabolic hormone and is a breakdown hormone that has little to do with the storage side of the equation, unlike insulin.
Just to repeat that, it has little to do with fat storage as one of its functions is to break down fat for use.
But it can affect or stall weight loss. This is mainly via its relationship with the hormones that regulate fluid receptors in the body. There are two main ones that it could impact and these are called aldosterone and anti-diuretic hormone (ADH)
High levels of cortisol could in some cases cause the body to hold onto water. A case in point is sometimes when one is dieting hard on low calories for a long time weight loss might stall due to water retention.
There is a big difference between a hormone preventing weight loss and a hormone preventing fat loss.
Cortisol does not prevent fat loss on its own without you putting extra food in your body!
It can, however, have an indirect effect on appetite with some people. When we are stressed we want to feel good and by eating certain foods we might find relief from a short-term, dopamine response.
Some of us under stress might be tempted to reach for the cookies and chocolate as a coping mechanism.
This is why exercise and relaxation techniques are such a powerful tool. They can counteract some of the negative effects of the daily stress that we all succumb too by releasing the feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.
Even if your cortisol levels are elevated, if you watch your calories send don’t overeat you will not gain fat – period.
Hormones are important and they do play a rule in weight maintenance but the master regulator of where we end up is how much we consume and move on a daily basis.
Pay attention to what you control and put in your mouth rather than what a hormone is doing.
Like always if you have any questions or comments please message me I would love to hear from you.
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