Let’s dive into the relationship between two key appetite hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
These hormones not only play a pivotal role in regulating our appetite, but also hold the secret to effective weight management.
Let’s review the function of each hormone, what happens when they get out of balance, and steps you can take to ensure they’re supporting your health and weight loss journey.
Ghrelin – The Hunger Hormone
Ghrelin is produced in the stomach; its role is to signal our brain when it’s time to eat. When your stomach’s empty, ghrelin levels rise, stimulating appetite and increasing your need for food intake.
However, the role of ghrelin goes beyond simply making you feel hungry. Ghrelin also influences the release of growth hormone and has effects on blood sugar, metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
How ghrelin works:
- Stimulating Hunger: When your stomach is empty the increase in ghrelin signals to the brain’s hypothalamus that it’s time to eat.
- Regulating Energy Balance: Ghrelin influences the release of growth hormone, which is involved in blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity and moderating fat stores.
- Adapting to Caloric Intake: During periods of low caloric intake, ghrelin levels tend to increase. Keeping your blood sugar balanced and ensuring you’re not eating too little helps to regulate this effect.
Leptin – The Satiety Superstar
Leptin is produced by our fat cells, and communicates to the brain that we’ve had enough to eat. Think of it as the “stop eating” signal.
How leptin works:
- Signalling Satiety: As fat cells grow and store more energy, they release more leptin that travels to the brain to signal that you’ve had enough to eat.
- Metabolism Regulation: When leptin levels are high, your body tends to burn more energy (calories), which can help maintain a healthy weight.
- Feedback Loop: Leptin operates in a feedback loop. When fat stores increase, more leptin is released, leading to reduced appetite and increased energy expenditure.
**In some cases, a phenomenon called leptin resistance can occur- the brain becomes less responsive to leptin’s signals, leading to persistent hunger, and resistant weight gain.**
Steps to Avoid Leptin Resistance and Regain Hormone Balance:
- Balanced Diet: Opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods to regulate hormone production and promote satiety. Talk to one of our nutritionists about what type of diet would be best for you according to your health history, age, etc.
- Regular Meals and Snacks: Avoid skipping meals to prevent extreme hunger and learn to regulate hunger and blood sugars with proper food choices.
- Mindful Eating: Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly to allow time for your hormones to signal when you’re satisfied. Avoid distractions like screens during meals, which can lead to mindless eating.
- Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels while reducing leptin.
- Stress Management: Practise stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature. Chronic stress can increase ghrelin levels and contributes to emotional eating, so finding effective stress relief is crucial.
- Physical Activity: Exercise helps regulate appetite hormones and supports overall metabolic health.
.As with most of our hormones, the choices we make on a daily basis affect their release and the impact they have on our health and weight.
But don’t worry! New choices create a new balance, promoting health and weight loss.
We’re Here to Help.
Contact us for a free weight loss assessment if you’re struggling to balance your diet or hormones.
Our nutritionists work with our clients one on one to provide personalized action steps towards balancing these hormones and supercharging your health and weight loss journey.