Why does extreme acute stress reduce your appetite?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
When you're under extreme acute stress—the immediate kind (such as a car accident) that triggers a fight-or-flight response, your body produces norepinephrine to speed your heart rate, breathing, and 100-yard dash time to escape a saber tooth tiger.

When that happens, the last thing you're thinking about is grilling up some tubers on the campfire, so your hunger levels are squashed. That's because your body inhibits the peptide NPY (which decreases metabolism and increases appetite) during periods of acute stress (it's why exercise cuts appetite, because your body senses you're in acute stress). So high levels of acute stress work in favor of your waist: it takes away your appetite and speeds up your metabolism.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.