Hormones and Your Diet

When you daydream about food or grab a snack you really don’t need, your hormones are most likely the culprit. Your body sometimes even craves what it is allergic too; isn't that crazy?  Hormone imbalances can also affect your weight.  In many cases the key to weight loss is understanding how hormone imbalances can affect your weight, not just calories.

We know that people respond to weight management and exercise programs differently; for the most part, women and men work out differently per the goal.   Combining traditional diet and exercise with more unique weight management strategies such as hormone optimization, inflammation reduction and nutrient replenishing, can really make a difference for people who have struggled in the past.

 

HORMONES & DIET

Hormones tell the body to burn fat or store fat, remain full or feel hungry, have cravings or not, enjoy balanced energy or feel fatigued. Hormones even impact your mood and motivation to exercise.

When dieting and cutting calories the potential impact on hormones can be recognizable and pronounced. Getting ready for a competition, my calories are low, I am doing cardio all the time, and I feel very tired.  Now, my methods are extreme, but they still have the roots of discipline that everyone must follow to achieve their goals.  Remember, I have said before, "you can't out-train a poor diet."  

If you cut too many calories or reduce calories for more than 60 days the body slows its metabolic rate and begins to compensate. The body’s reaction often is what ends the diet at the 60-90 day mark and then weight gain is inevitable.  People respond differently to diets based on their individual nature. In cases where people have not succeeded with dieting, addressing the hormones first may be the best approach.

Hormone balancing can

• Reduce hunger

• Control cravings

• Elevate energy

• Boost metabolism

Reducing calories is still a must when attempting to lose weight, but a low-calorie diet partnered with the balancing of hormones, can be the real solution in many cases.

There are several hormones that have direct ties to obesity, but the hormones listed below, when imbalanced, can be a major obstacle for weight loss; having the most direct action on hunger, satiety, and fat burning.

1. Adiponectin

Adiponectin is a protein that is involved in regulating glucose levels and burning fat. Low levels of Adiponectin are associated with higher levels of obesity. And elevated levels of Adiponectin are associated with improved insulin sensitivity and better metabolic output.  In other words,  the more of this protein you have circulating in your bloodstream, the more fat you burn!

2. Ghrelin

Ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone”, has direct effects on hunger and therefore the ability for people to lose weight and maintain weight. As Ghrelin levels rise so does hunger and cravings for mostly carbohydrates. When you start to think about a snack or food; catching yourself grabbing a food you know you really don’t need? It is likely the result of Ghrelin.  Ghrelin also is shown to be linked to other "reward behaviors" such as smoking, drinking or drugs.

3. Leptin

Leptin is the hormone that works opposite of Ghrelin. Not only do inflammatory markers increase levels of Ghrelin they can reduce Leptin activity. When inflammation is high these cytokines become elevated and overload the Leptin receptors. These actions create a state of “Leptin Resistance” and elevated levels of Ghrelin, which place people in the unfortunate cycle of high cravings and high risk of weight gain, insulin resistance and further inflammation.

Results of Lowering Inflammation:

  • Adiponectin levels rise
  • Insulin resistance decreases
  • Ghrelin decreases
  • Cortisol decreases
  • Leptin resistance subsides
  • Weight loss is achieved

 

Insulin

In the overweight population most experience some level of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that insulin becomes less effective at lowering your blood sugars. Muscle cells require insulin to absorb glucose, but when these cells fail to respond adequately to circulating insulin, blood sugars rise. The liver is supposed to reduce its output of glucose in the presence of insulin, but with insulin resistance the liver does not respond to the signals effectively worsening the problem. Insulin resistance causes cells to stop effectively absorbing glucose into muscles for energy and results in carbohydrates getting stored as fat. I take r-ALA each day with each meal to promote the shuttling of glycogen into the muscles, significantly lowering the risk of carbohydrates being stored as fat.

Cortisol

Stress has been documented to increase cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods and has been tied to over eating and weight gain. This is because stress also leads to increased Cortisol production, which if not corrected leads to increased belly fat and is termed the fat-stress connection. Cortisol is released to prepare the body for stress so another preparation is to break down muscle for energy. Excess circulating Cortisol leads to sluggish metabolism, muscle breakdown, and fat accumulation often in particular areas of the body such as the abdomen and underarms.