Understanding Hunger Hormones
Hunger hormones… did you know that we actually have hunger hormones? One hormone’s purpose is to increase our appetite and make us eat, while another hormone primarily works to decrease our appetite. Would you like to be ‘ordering’ a few more of those?
Our hunger hormones are Ghrelin and Leptin, and the majority of us have never even heard of these little ‘critters’. What follows is designed to give you a better understanding of your body’s hunger hormones which will actually help you better manage your weight.
Leptin and Ghrelin
Ghrelin is a hormone that increases your appetite. It’s released in the stomach and has the task of sending signals to your brain so that you can recognize you’re hungry.
Your body is designed so it produces more ghrelin if you’re not eating enough. Skipping meals stimulates more ghrelin secretion, and ghrelin, in normal circumstances, is reduced if the individual is eating too much. Studies have shown that levels of ghrelin increase in individuals who are suffering from anorexia nervosa. Conversely, ghrelin levels also decrease in obese children.
According to a study conducted in Germany, ghrelin may play a huge role in determining the length of time that “hunger” will be felt by a person. Normally, ghrelin levels dramatically increase when a person is hungry and eventually subside after having a meal. Researchers also reveal that the role of ghrelin is not only limited to increasing appetite. The hormone ghrelin additionally has the complex task of regulating an individual’s body weight.
Leptin functions as the appetite suppressor. This hormone is also believed to play a major role in a person’s energy balance. Some experts believe that leptin can also be responsible for regulating ghrelin hormones. It is leptin that sends signals to the brain to recognize that the body has enough immediate energy stores, or simply put, has eaten enough.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that people who are obese have often become resistant to the signals of leptin despite the fact that they have high amounts of leptin in their body. Normally, the more fats you have stored, the higher your leptin levels should be. However, some factors also need to be taken into consideration, such as the last time you ingested food, as well as your sleeping patterns.
How Macronutrients Affect Our Hunger Hormones
A study led by David Cummings, M.D. from the University of Washington revealed how macronutrients influence the ups and downs of a person’s appetite. During the study, experts found that proteins have the highest influence when it comes to suppressing a person’s appetite.
Fats were found to only have neutral effects on an individual’s appetite. Researchers discovered that although carbohydrates initially lower a person’s appetite, they will later increase an individual’s appetite to levels higher than before the carbohydrates were introduced into the body.
So if you want to lose weight, a very good start is to eat more proteins and fewer carbohydrates… especially those sugar-rich, high-Glycemic Index carbs!
Helping You Live Healthier in a Major Way!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC