Are Your Hormones Making You Fat?

Special Guest Contributor: The Inspiyr Team

As many as 6 in 10 Americans want to lose weight. However, many people who are determined to lose weight often gain it right back. Studies show that this could be the result of pre-existing hormone levels.

We caught up with weight loss experts Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, and Dr. Rose Kumar, medical director and founder of the Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine to learn more about what these hormones are, and how you can keep them at healthy levels.

How Hormones Effect Weight Gain

There are three hormones that play a key role in regulating hunger and weight gain: leptin, ghrelin, and insulin. When these hormones are out of balance, they can affect the signals that tell your brain when you’ve eaten enough.

  • Leptin: Leptin is a hormone produced primarily in the white fatty tissue in the body. When you have high body fat, you generally have high levels of leptin. The more calories you take in, the more leptin you produce, triggering the “full” response in your brain.
  • Ghrelin: Ghrelin alerts your brain that you’re hungry. Ghrelin levels are at their highest right before you eat, and at their lowest right afterward.
  • Insulin: Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and its job is to regulate glucose. This means that insulin is a key player in metabolism and energy production. Insulin and leptin are closely correlated; when leptin levels increase, so does your insulin.

8 Ways to Keep Your Hormone Levels Balanced

There are different steps you can take to make sure these three hormones stay balanced.

  1. Get proper sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep caused by stress can effect how our bodies balance our hormones. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7 – 9 hours ofsleep per night.
  2. Exercise. The CDC recommends that adults between the age of 18-64 do at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise each week.
  3. Eat a plant-based diet low in sugar and simple carbohydrates. Dr. Kumar says that switching to a plant-based diet can have great health implications. “A plant based diet has been shown in numerous studies to be the best diet for human consumption. Most of the disease of the Western world such as cancer, heart disease and autoimmune diseases are a result of eating a diet high in inflammatory factors, primarily animal based.”
  4. Eliminate processed foods. Eating a diet high in processed foods has been linked to obesity and cancer, so stick to a diet that focuses on natural foods and not those made in a factory.
  5. Don’t over-eat. Even short-term overeating can cause insulin resistance in otherwise healthy adults.
  6. Eat the right type of fats. According to Dr. Dean, the good fats are found in egg yolks, organ meats, fish, fish eggs, butter (from grass fed cows), coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
  7. Watch your supplements. Dr. Dean, who is a Board Member of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association says that hormone levels can be thrown out of whack when there is too much calcium or not enough magnesium, so make sure you’re supplementing accordingly.
  8. Avoid Fructose. Studies have shown that fructose consumption can increase leptin resistance.

The Takeaway

Losing weight is an important goal for lots of people, but one that is often not achieved. By understanding the hormones that effect hunger and metabolism; leptin, ghrelin and insulin, along with the steps you can take to manage them, can give you a step up in your battle against the bulge.