There are several foods that could be labeled “stress foods”. I have chosen what I call the “Big-5”.
- Refined sugar
These irritate muscles and overwhelm the adrenal
glands and pancreas. Most people are aware of the initial “sugar high” from
refined sugars that is quickly followed by fatigue and low energy. This leads
to an impulse to again reach for sugar. A vicious cycle is then set in motion,
which puts even more stress on the body.
- Artificial sweeteners
Aspartame, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, is
stressful in itself since it contributes to the formation of formaldehyde in
the body and contains methanol (wood alcohol) whose long term effects are still
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, colas and chocolate,
is a diuretic as well as a stimulant. It increases blood pressure, and causes
the excretion of important vitamins and minerals from the body (particularly
the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium).
- Processed meat and
Cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, cheese and preserved
meats are often packed with chemical additives, dyes, and preservatives which
put a strain on the body. Also, many snack foods such as cookies, candy,
pastries and chips contain oxidized fats (especially trans-fatty acids) that
are produced through a process called hydrogenation. Margarine is highly
hydrogenated. Oxidized fats wreak havoc with body cholesterol, cause weight
gain, and are associated with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and
Alcohol, like caffeine, is a stimulant and thus a
muscle irritant. It has been shown to trigger binge eating.