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The Hormones Directly Related to Our Appetite, Cravings, and Weight

By June 8, 2020 No Comments

The Hormones Directly Related to Our Appetite, Cravings, and Weight

Did you know that our bodies make and circulate some 50 different hormones? There are 9 major players as it relates to our weight. Too much or too little of some of these can lead to weight gain and/or the inability to lose weight when trying. Check out my explanation of the hormones below with tips to increase or decrease their presence in your body.

GREHLIN

This is the hormone in our body that says, “hey you, time to eat!” When your stomach is empty (and wants to be filled) it releases grehlin to tell your brain to snag some food. Pretty nifty mind-body connection, but don’t you wish it cooked for you too?

PROBLEM: Intuitively, that means grehlin is highest before eating a meal and lowest after a meal, but studies have shown that with overweight and obese individuals, grehlin only decreases slightly after a meal. This slight decrease in the hormone means that the brain does not receive a strong enough signal to stop eating.

SOLUTION: Decreasing sugar intake, especially corn syrup, and having protein at every meal is a good way to improve grehlin function in your body and raise satiety levels.

LEPTIN

Leptin is a hormone that makes you feel full and is produced by fat cells. The message it sends to your brain is that your body has enough fat stored, so you do not need to eat more.

PROBLEM: Despite producing 4 times as leptin as others, if you are overweight or obese, your body develops leptin resistance. This means the body does not respond to the higher levels of leptin in their bodies, so their appetite is not decreased.

SOLUTION:

  • Exercise regularly: 4-5 days/week of 30+ minutes
  • Sleep 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night
  • Take supplements like ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) and fish oil
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish and avoid inflammatory foods (dairy, processed foods, etc.)

CORTISOL

PROBLEM: The commonly called: “stress hormone” is produced by the adrenal glands and is released when your body senses stress. If chronically elevated, it and can increase fat around the midsection, especially in women.

SOLUTIONS:

  • Consistent high-quality sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Meditate and practice any form of stress management that works for you

INSULIN

This is the hormone that allows your cells to take in blood sugar for energy or storage and it is also the main fat storage hormone. Yep, this is the hormone we blame when we keep fat on our body! In fact, it tells fat cells to store fat and prevents stored fats from being broken down.

PROBLEM: Overeating and overeating things like sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods drives insulin resistance and increases insulin levels. When insulin levels are chronically elevated, it can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

SOLUTIONS:

  • Limit sugar intake, simple and refined carbs, and increase fiber-filled foods
  • Increase magnesium intake to improve insulin sensitivity
  • Eat healthy fats
  • Eat lean and complete proteins at each meal
  • Exercise regularly: 4-5 days/week of 30+ minutes

SUPPORTIVE ROLES:

ESTROGEN: for women, have estrogen shifts throughout life and when they are too high or low, weight gain can occur. Estrogen levels are directly related to your age as well.

NPY (Neuropeptide Y) is a hormone that is also increased during stress and periods of food deprivation or fasting. It is produced by cells in the brain and nervous system and stimulates appetite, especially for carbohydrates.

To Decrease NPY Levels:

  • Make sure you’re eating a high fiber diet
  • Eat enough lean protein
  • Take a pre- and probiotic; friendly “good” bacteria in the gut may reduce NPY levels.
  • Fasting over 24 hours can increase levels

CCK: is a hormone that reduces your appetite and is produced when you eat protein, fat, and fiber.

PYY: is a gut hormone that controls appetite and plays a major role in reducing food intake, especially when you eat more fiber, lean protein, and limit processed carbs.

GLP-1: glucagon-like peptide-1 is also a gut hormone, plays a role in keeping blood sugar levels stable and gives you that satiated feeling. To increase levels of GLP-1 in the body, eat loads of leafy greens, take a probiotic, eat an anti-inflammatory and clean diet, and keep up with the lean protein.

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