Is Stress Making You Fat?

New study finds stress can increase your cravings for sweets and make it harder to exhibit self-control.
3:50 | 08/10/15

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Transcript for Is Stress Making You Fat?
This morning, we're launching a brand-new series to help you lose weight, live longer, and feel better. We're calling it "Diet wars." All week long, Dr. Jen Ashton will be here. First, something we all battle. Stress and weight. Mara sh Mara schiavocampo has the story. Reporter: In the battle of the bulge, sometimes will power can wilt. The culprit? It could be stress. In a recent study published in the journal our roon, people who had moderate stress chose foods that tasted good over healthier options. The reason? Stress changed brain chemistry to make self-control harder. When people are under stress, their body wants to have glucose. That's the brain's preferred source of energy. You can get it in many ways. The fastest, cheapest, soda and cookies. Reporter: Two years ago, Candice weighed 190 pounds. I was tired of feeling that way. Reporter: She started eating healthy and working out. But Candice, getting over a recent break up and looking for a new apartment says stress has been her biggest obstacle in reaching her goal weight. Though she's lost 40 pounds, she wants to lose 7 more. I have the urge to reach to my old vices when I'm stressed. Reporter: What is the best weapon to beat your brain's wiring? I say plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more. If you're going to be going to work, pack your lunch. Pack your snack. So you have what you need at the ready. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Mara schiavocampo, ABC news, New York. Thank you, Mara. Here with us, Dr. Jen Ashton. In front of a large brain on the floor. When people say stress is all in your head, it actually is. All of this starts in the brain. You take stress, this can be short-term stress. It triggers a massive hormonal release. Insulin, cortiso plp ghrelin. Dopamine. Leptin. Strong effects on the metabolism. In the short term this is a good thing. The problem is when the stress is chronic. That's not good. You get a signal disruption. It makes us crave more. It makes us eat more. Guess what that does to our body? Makes us store more fat. Do we eat more poorly? No one craves a big bag of carrots or broccoli. We go for highly palatable foods. Look at the animation. Yep, those are all the things I love. Foods high in fat, salt, sugar, calories. They work all over the body. They cause an increase in abdominal fat. You have a secret weapon. We have to deal with stress or it will deal with us. We want something we can use as medicine. Lavender, mix it up in lemon aid. Let it soak for a week. Take blueberries, muddle them up, add honey if you need it. You get a nice stress-busting drink. Okay. Reach for that instead of the burger. Yes, exactly. Dr. Jen will take your questions throughout the morning. Treater @drjashton. I'm going to try it. We have ice cheream coming up.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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