Did you know that we all have hunger hormones?
One of the hormones is there to increase our appetite and make us eat and I’m sure you would have heard it grumbling in your belly, while another hormone primarily works to decrease our appetite. I bet most of us would like to be ‘ordering’ a few more of those hormones if we could?
Our hunger hormones are named Ghrelin and Leptin and the majority of us would have never even heard of these little ‘critters’. The following will give you a better knowledge about your body’s hunger hormones and help you to better manage your weight.
Understanding Leptin and Ghrelin
Ghrelin is a hormone that increases your appetite. Ghrelin is released in the stomach and has the task of sending signals to your brain so that you can recognize you are hungry.
The body produces more ghrelin if a person is not eating enough. Therefore, skipping meals equals more ghrelin secretion. However, ghrelin in normal circumstances is reduced if the individual is eating too much. Studies have shown that levels of ghrelin increase in people 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 a person’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 our appetite. During this study, experts found that proteins have the highest influence with regard to suppressing your appetite.
Fats were also found to only have neutral effects on your appetite. Researchers discovered that although carbohydrates initially lower your appetite, they will later increase an your appetite to levels higher than before the carbohydrates were introduced into the body.
So the upshot of it all is – if you want to lose weight, a great start is to eat more proteins and less carbs, especially sugar-rich, high-GI carbs!