“Hunger hormones” covers a variety of chemicals released within your body. Hunger hormones are your body’s natural response to being hungry, eating or when you’ve eaten enough. Unfortunately, a poorly managed diet, and even inadequate sleep, can cause your hunger hormones to act in a way that promotes overeating, weight gain and more. When you keep them doing their job efficiently, they can be a powerful force in becoming healthy and staying that way.
Ghrelin: Time to eat
When your stomach is empty, you need food. Of course, your brain doesn’t have a camera in your guts to see this, it needs to be told. Ghrelin is a hormone released by your gastrointestinal system to tell your brain you need to refuel, i.e., get some food. When people talk about “the hunger hormone,” this is most likely what they mean. Ghrelin starts being released when your body thinks it is hungry. When ghrelin stops being released, your brain knows you’ve eaten enough food.
Unfortunately, some of the things you eat don’t stop ghrelin from being produced, causing you to feel hungry even when you’re not. Chief among these is fructose. While it’s fine to get fructose naturally along with fiber and other nutrients from the fruits and vegetables you eat, it can be real trouble when you add soda, sweets and overly processed food to the mix. Too much fructose in your diet keeps you hungrier than you really are, leading to overeating and weight gain.
Leptin: No more, thanks
The discovery of leptin, which comes from the Greek word for thin, was a momentous occasion. Unlike most other hormones, leptin is actually produced by the fat cells in your body. Traveling through the bloodstream, leptin communicates with your brain, telling it when there is adequate energy stored in fat cells. When the brain receives this message, you no longer feel hungry and your brain stops attaching a pleasurable feeling to eating.
Like ghrelin, your body’s use of leptin is messed up by too much fructose. On top of ghrelin causing you to be overly hungry, fructose can suppress leptin, causing you to think you need more food and to continue feeling good when you eat.
This situation is worsened further when there is poor insulin efficiency in your body, otherwise known as insulin resistance. Most people who carry some extra pounds have this to some degree. Too much insulin in your bloodstream causes tons of problems in the body, including fooling your brain into thinking the body needs more food, in part by blocking leptin signals from reaching the brain..
Turning hunger hormones to your advantage
If you take anything away from this, it’s probably to avoid insulin resistance and minimize your fructose intake. If you’re looking to learn more about how, following the Olumia Life Nutrition Plan is a good start. It’s specifically designed to improve insulin efficiency and refine eating habits to make them healthier. The various systems of your body are interconnected, meaning you can improve (or degrade) your health in any of them by your actions concerning another. By making small, continual improvements in your eating, exercising and sleeping habits, you can create a profoundly beneficial effect on the whole.
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