There are many hormones that control your weight, your fat storage and your appetite. Read on to learn more about these hormones and how to regulate their concentration.
1. The Leptin
Leptin is produced by adipose cells.
It is considered the “hormone of satiety”, it reduces the appetite and helps you feel full.
As a hormone signaling hormone, its role is to communicate with the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates appetite and food intake.
Leptin tells the brain that the fat storage is sufficient, which helps prevent any intake of excess food.
People who are overweight or obese usually have very high levels of leptin in the blood. In fact, one study found that leptin levels in obese people were up to 4 times higher than in people with normal weight.
If leptin reduces appetite, obese people with high levels of leptin should therefore eat less and lose weight.
Unfortunately, in terms of obesity, leptin does not work as it should. This is called leptin resistance.
When hormonal signaling is impaired, the message telling the brain to stop eating does not happen, it does not realize that you have stored enough energy.
In simpler terms, your brain thinks your body is hungry, and so encourages you to eat more.
Leptin levels are also reduced when you lose weight, and this is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to maintain its weight loss over the long term. The brain thinks you are hungry, and pushes you to eat.
Two potential causes of leptin resistance are chronic high levels of insulin and inflammation in the hypothalamus.
Here are some suggestions to improve your sensitivity to leptin:
- Avoid foods that trigger inflammatory reactions: limit foods that cause inflammation, sweetened beverages and especially processed fats.
- Eat certain foods: Eat more foods with anti-inflammatory effects, such as fatty fish.
- Exercise regularly: Moderate physical activity can improve sensitivity to leptin.
- Get enough sleep: studies have shown that lack of sleep leads to lower leptin levels and a greater appetite.
- Supplements: In a scientific study, women on a diet to lose weight taking alpha-lipoic acid and fish oil lost more weight and had less leptin than in the control group .
In conclusion: People with obesity tend to be resistant to the effects of leptin.Eating foods with anti-inflammatory effects, exercising and sleeping enough can improve sensitivity to leptin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas.
It is secreted in small amounts throughout the day and in larger quantities after meals.
Insulin allows your cells to take blood sugar to provide energy or to store it, depending on what is needed.
Insulin is the main hormone that manages fat storage. It controls the fat cells to store fat, and prevents the stored fat from decomposing.
When cells are resistant to insulin (which is very common), blood glucose levels and insulin levels increase significantly.
Regularly high levels of insulin (called hyperinsulinemia) can lead to many health problems, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Too much food – especially foods rich in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and all the dishes offered by fast foods – results in insulin resistance and increases insulin levels.
Here are some tips to normalize your insulin levels and improve your insulin sensitivity:
- Avoid sugar or minimize the amounts you consume: Consuming high amounts of fructose and sucrose promotes insulin resistance and raises insulin levels.
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake: a low carb diet can cause an immediate drop in insulin levels.
- Make it full of protein: Consuming proteins actually helps increase the insulin level in the short term. However, this will lead to a reduction in your insulin resistance over the long term and this will help you lose abdominal fat.
- Add a lot of healthy fats to your diet: Omega-3 fatty acids, especially found in fatty fish, can help lower your insulin levels in the blood when you are fasting.
- Exercise regularly: According to a scientific study, overweight people who walked fast or jogged saw a significant improvement in their insulin sensitivity after 14 weeks.
- Take enough magnesium: people who are insulin resistant often have low levels of magnesium, dietary supplements containing magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity.
- Drink green tea: Green tea can lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
In conclusion: Insulin is the main hormone that manages the storage of fats.Reducing your intake of sugar, carbohydrates and exercising are the best ways to lower your insulin levels.
3. The Ghreline
Ghrelin is also known as the “hormone of hunger”.
When your stomach is empty, it releases ghrelin, which sends a message to the hypothalamus that says you have to eat. Normally, ghrelin levels are higher before eating and the lower one about an hour after you have had a meal. However, in overweight and obese people, fasting ghrelin levels are often lower than in normal weight people. Studies have also shown that after eating obese people had a ghrelin level that only decreased slightly. The hypothalamus therefore does not receive a signal as strong as it should to stop the feeding process, which can lead to overeating.
Here are some tips to improve the function of hormone ghrelin:
- Sugar: Avoid all sweetened drinks and other syrups, they can impair the transmission of information by ghrelin hormone after meals.
- Protein: Consume protein at each meal, especially at breakfast, can reduce ghrelin levels and promote satiety.
In conclusion: Eating large amounts of protein and avoiding foods and drinks high in sugar can help optimize ghrelin levels.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.
It is also known as “stress hormone” because it is released when your body is stressed out.
Like other hormones, it is essential for survival. However, high levels of cortisol in the body in a chronic way can lead to overeating and weight gain.
It seems that women who in excess of weight react to stress with a greater increase in their cortisol levels.
However, a strict diet can also increase cortisol in the body. In one study, women who followed a low calorie diet had higher cortisol levels and reported feeling more stressed than women who followed a normal diet.
These strategies can reduce cortisol levels:
- A Balanced Diet: Follow a balanced diet based on whole and unprocessed foods.Do not reduce your caloric intake drastically.
- Meditation: Practicing meditation can significantly reduce the production of cortisol.
- Listen to music: Researchers report that patients who hear soothing music during medical procedures, the rate of cortisol does not rise as much as in patients who do not listen to music.
- Sleep more: One study found that when pilots lost 15 hours of sleep in a week, their cortisol levels had increased by 50 to 80%.
In conclusion: High levels of cortisol can command your brain to increase your intake of food and promote weight gain. Having a balanced diet, managing stress and sleeping more can help normalize the production of cortisol.
Estrogen is the most important hormone in women.
It is mainly produced by the ovaries, and is involved in the regulation of the female reproductive system.
Very high or very low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. It depends on the age, the action of other hormones, and general health.
To maintain the fertility of women throughout the years when they can have children, estrogen begins to promote the storage of fat from puberty.
In addition, estrogen levels can stimulate fat intake in the first half of the nine months of pregnancy.
Obese women tend to have higher estrogen levels than women who have a normal weight, and some researchers believe that this is due to environmental influences.
At menopause, when estrogen levels fall due to lower production in the ovaries, the parts of the body where fat is stored spend hips and thighs to the abdomen and stomach. This promotes insulin resistance and increases the risk of disease.
These nutritional and lifestyle strategies can help manage estrogen levels:
- Fiber: Eat plenty of fiber if you want to lower your estrogen levels.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Eating cruciferous vegetables can have beneficial effects on estrogen levels.
- Flaxseed: Although phytoestrogens are controversial, flaxseed appears to have beneficial effects on estrogen levels in most women.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help normalize estrogen levels in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
In conclusion: When your estrogen levels are too high or too low, you can gain weight. It all depends on your age and other hormonal factors.
6. Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone produced by cells located in the brain and nervous system.
It stimulates the appetite, especially for carbohydrates, and its levels are higher during periods of fasting or during food deprivation.
Neuropeptide Y levels are elevated during periods of stress, which can lead to overeating and fat storage at the abdominal level.
Recommendations for decreasing NPY levels:
- Eat enough protein: Eating too little protein increases the release of NPY, which leads to hunger, increased appetite, eating more and ultimately gaining weight.
- Do not fast for too long: Studies on animals have shown that very long fasts, more than 24 hours for example, can significantly increase NPY levels.
- Soluble fiber: Eat lots of prebiotic soluble fiber to nourish the bacteria present in the intestine helps reduce NPY levels.
In conclusion: Neuropeptides Y (NPY) stimulate hunger, especially during fasting and periods of stress. Proteins and soluble fiber can help reduce NPY levels.