Mercy Endocrinologist Dr. Supneet Saluja Discusses Research Linking Stress to Sugar Cravings

July 27, 2015
Center for Endocrinology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Ever wonder why you grab that candy bar or dig into that cookie dough ice cream when you're stressed out?

Researchers now say that's because sugary treats reduce our response to stress.

As a rule, Tanesia Mack doesn't eat sugary foods. But, she does get an irresistible craving for sweets whenever she feels stressed.

“I only eat it when I have those moments of, you know, I'm just so tired, I need a boost of energy, and it kind of helps give me that little kick that I was looking for,” Mack said.

According to Mercy’s Dr. Supneet Saluja of The Endocrinology Center, a recent study reveals there is a connection between sugar and stress.

“Sugary things and things with high calories help make happy hormones and happy chemicals that make us feel better,” Saluja said.

But Dr. Saluja warns that eating sweets regularly to reduce stress can have some unhealthy results.

“If people are under chronic stress and reach out to their comfort foods at the end of every day or a few times every week, that could lead to a lot of excess calories and weight gain, and we all know that obesity is a big risk factor,” Dr. Saluja said.

To combat those concerns, Mack said she reaches for healthier snacks as often as possible.

“There have been times where I'll say let me just grab some strawberries or an apple or banana because those things are much healthier than chocolate,” Mack said.

If you are chronically stressed, make a plan to replace eating sweets with other stress relievers.

“Some people enjoy meditation, or a little bit of yoga, going out for a walk,” Dr. Saluja said. “Exercise produces the same hormones that some of these foods do, so I think that's a good replacement.”

View Dr. Saluja’s interview regarding sugar cravings and stress.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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