Do you feel in control of your weight loss?
Most dieters do, at least for the first week or two of their journey. However, your body may have another plan for you due to the influence of your hunger hormones: Leptin and ghrelin.
To take control over your weight loss and those hunger pangs that send you scrambling to the refrigerator or nearest fast food restaurant, you must first learn to control leptin and ghrelin levels in your body. In this article, we’ll explore the hunger hormones, how they function, and how you can control both to ensure your weight loss isn’t sidetracked.
What are Leptin and Ghrelin?
While both leptin and ghrelin are hunger hormones that control weight loss, ghrelin plays a more significant role in weight loss, or weight gain, for most people. The reason is that both hormones influence appetite and body weight in distinct ways:
- Leptin – Leptin is known for its role as an appetite suppressant and long-term regulator of body weight. It is produced by fat cells throughout the body to lower appetite in people who are overweight. Some overweight people develop leptin resistance. This means they won’t experience a suppressed appetite and will instead continue to eat excessive amounts of food, exacerbating any current weight issues.
- Ghrelin – Ghrelin is known for its role as an appetite increaser and short-term regulator of body weight. It is released almost entirely in the stomach and controls the brain’s influence over hunger. Ghrelin is known to increase in people with eating disorders and in healthy people before eating. After eating, ghrelin levels typically decrease for about three hours before beginning to increase once again, prompting you to eat again.
Some research suggests that leptin can help regulate ghrelin. Others believe ghrelin is more influential because it increases hunger whereas leptin decreases hunger in those without leptin intolerance. However, there’s no way to prove which hunger hormone is “more important” and for that reason, it’s important to take steps to regulate each and support healthy weight loss.
How Leptin and Ghrelin Work in the Body
Before understanding how to take control of both leptin and ghrelin, you must understand how both work in the body. Each are secreted by different cells and organs and interact with the brain to influence whether we do or don’t eat.
- Leptin – Adipose tissue, or fat, secretes leptin which travels through the circulatory system and to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the area of the brain in charge of hormone secretion, affecting drives such as hunger, sleep, and thirst. When the hypothalamus detects leptin, it tells us to either stop eating or eat less. If you’re overweight and have more adipose tissue, you will produce more leptin and decrease your food intake to lose some of the weight naturally.
- Ghrelin – The stomach produces ghrelin when it is empty. Like leptin, ghrelin travels through the blood to the hypothalamus, telling your brain that you’re hungry and need food. This means levels of ghrelin are highest before you eat and lowest after you eat.
To lose weight, this means you want to increase leptin while decreasing ghrelin. The 5 tips below will help you do just that.
Take Control Over Leptin and Ghrelin With 5 Simple Tips
By influencing and regulating levels of leptin and ghrelin in your body, you can minimize hunger pangs and stay on track with your diet.
Here are 5 tips that will influence leptin and ghrelin levels and support healthy, maintainable weight loss:
- Eat at Regular Times Every Day – If you regularly change the times at which you eat, ghrelin may force you to eat more than you need. Ghrelin levels grow accustomed to you eating at regular times you’ve conditioned in your body over time. This means that if you eat an early lunch one day at 11 a.m. but usually eat lunch at 1 p.m., you may feel hungry again at 1 p.m. Ghrelin also begins to increase every three hours. If you eat at different times than normal, this will throw off your entire day and cause potential problems.
- Find Activities That Help You Confront Stress – Stress and leptin are related and as such, so are stress and appetite control. This is why when you feel stressed, you may feel compelled to find comfort in food. It’s important to find an outlet for stress such as meditation, exercise, or perhaps just talking to a friend or family member. Doing so will give you a greater handle on your hunger hormones and stop you from reaching for food for comfort during stressful times in your life.
- Get Enough Sleep – Studies reveal people with less than seven hours of sleep per night experience higher ghrelin levels, lower leptin levels, and increased hunger throughout the day. This means you should get at least seven hours of sleep each night to keep hormonal levels regular throughout the day and should ideally shoot for eight or more hours for optimal health.
- Increase Fiber Intake – Fiber has been shown to suppress ghrelin in the body. By increasing your intake of naturally high fiber foods, especially vegetables, you can keep hunger pangs at bay and follow the regular eating schedule that will set you up for success.
- Exercise – Some dieters fear exercise because they believe it will make them even hungrier than usual, making it difficult to lose weight. However, resistance training increases your body’s sensitivity to important hunger hormones like leptin. This will help you eat less and feel full and satisfied as well. Both cardio and weightlifting activities suppress ghrelin, debunking the myth that exercise makes you too hungry to stay on track with your diet.
You’re in Control of Your Hunger, You Just Don’t Know It
You may feel as if your body rules your hunger, appetite, and weight loss success. In fact, it does through hormonal regulation – but this doesn’t mean you lack control.
By better understanding how both leptin and ghrelin work in your body and how your actions and daily choices affect hormone levels, you can take proactive steps to stay in control of your hunger and diet. And, if you feel like you need some support during your journey, PhenQ is available to burn fat and suppress your appetite until you’re truly in control.
The body you have doesn’t dictate the body you want. Take control of your hunger hormones and get on track!