Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Survey: People Who Diet a Lot More Likely to Overeat in Times of Stress

Aug. 8, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) -- If you diet a lot, you may be more likely to overeat in times of stress, a new survey suggests.

Also, people tend to gorge on high-calorie, high-fat junk foods when eating under stress, says study leader Kayla Ten Eycke, MSc, of the department of psychology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

"Having an occasional piece of chocolate cake may make you less prone to overeating chocolate cake during stressful times," she tells WebMD.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, says that although a survey doesn't provide scientific proof that dieting influences food choices during stress, it makes sense.

"If you’re always dieting, you may throw up your hands in times of stress and say, 'I'll eat what I want to,'" she tells WebMD.

"If you’re more moderate, you would have worked out a way to eat for health. You don't use stress as an excuse to overeat a food you’re typically forbidden from having," Lichtenstein says. She was not involved with the work.

The findings were presented here at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Junk Food Preferred During Stressful Times

Previous research has shown that stress causes biological and psychological changes that influence what foods we prefer and what foods we eat, Eycke notes.

To find out more about food choices during stress, she and colleagues recruited 158 adults to fill out a 44-question survey.

Among the results:

  • Only about 20% reported they ate the same amount when they were stressed out as when they weren't. About 40% said they ate less than usual, and 40% said they ate more than usual.
  • Compared with people who shied away from food when stressed (stress under-eaters), those who ate more than usual (stress overeaters) were substantially more likely to have been on diets lasting longer than two weeks.
  • Stress overeaters had wider waists and hips and weighed more, on average, than stress under-eaters.
  • All the people surveyed said they ate foods that were higher in calories, fat, salt, carbohydrates, and sugar during times of stress.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Weight Loss Surgery Health Center

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...