Obesity, Chronic Stress, and Stress Reduction

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2023 Jun;52(2):347-362. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2023.03.009. Epub 2023 Apr 7.


The obesity epidemic is caused by the misalignment between human biology and the modern food environment, which has led to unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors and an increase in metabolic diseases. This has been caused by the shift from a "leptogenic" to an "obesogenic" food environment, characterized by the availability of unhealthy food and the ability to eat at any time of day due to advances in technology. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder, characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating and a sense of loss of control over eating, and is treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy-enhanced (CBT-E). Shift work, especially night shift work, can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythms and increase the risk of obesity and other negative health consequences, such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. One dietary approach to address circadian dysregulation is time-restricted eating (TRE), which involves restricting food intake to specific periods of the day to synchronize the body's internal clock with the external environment. TRE has been found to cause modest weight loss and improve metabolic outcomes such as insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, but the extent to which it is beneficial may depend on adherence and other factors such as caloric restriction.

Keywords: Caloric restriction; Cardiovascular disease; Circadian rhythms; Insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome; Mindfulness-based interventions; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Sleep.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Obesity* / therapy