Many people think that losing weight is only about exercising more and eating less. If this includes you, then think again!
Hunger hormones, associated with your metabolism, play a big role in weight gain and weight loss - and controlling them may be the best way to safely and healthily shed kilos. Read on to learn more.
Losing weight is easy – keeping it off is the hard part!
Dr Scott Isaacs, an endocrinologist based in Atlanta in the United States, explains that most people can lose weight – it’s keeping it off that’s the challenge. The reason for this is that your body is probably working against you if you’re trying to lose weight.
You see, for most of human existence, losing weight
was a potentially life-threatening condition. So, once you start dropping kilos, your body instinctively adapts by going into starvation mode and releasing hormones that increase your appetite and conserve your fat
Burn extra calories by eating more fat!
Did you know there’s one type of saturated fat
that encourages your body to burn more energy as fuel. And that only means one thing: You lose more weight.
Leptin and ghrelin are the two primary hormones that control your appetite
These hormones serve as biological on and off switches. Ghrelin switches your appetite on, while leptin switches it off. Ghrelin is mainly produced by the lining of your stomach and leptin is secreted by fat
cells. Leptin isn’t the only hormone produced in the gut that signals satiety, however, we don’t know as much about the other hormones as we do about leptin.
“What we know from the science is that when you lose weight, your hunger hormones go in the opposite direction,” says Isaacs. “The hormones that make you feel full all go down while ghrelin, the only hormone that stimulates appetite, goes up.”
Leptin resistance is one of the biggest weight-loss problems. Overweight
or obese people have more fat and therefore produce more leptin. Therefore, in theory, that should make them feel full, but the opposite happens as their bodies become less sensitive to the hormone – much like in people with insulin resistance.
Eating the right foods is the best way to reduce leptin resistance
Isaac suggests that you eat a diet rich in antioxidants – think fruits and vegetables with a lot of different colours. You should also cut out inflammatory things like high-sugar and processed foods, and eat consistently rather than go for long periods of time without eating.
All of these things will help control your hunger hormones and help you lose weight – and keep it off.