By Kate Horney
Are your hormones making you fat? Or at the very least, are they causing you to feel hungry when your body doesn’t actually need fuel?
It may seem simple: if you’re hungry, you eat. But what causes you to feel hungry? What if your body is telling you you’re hungry when food is not necessary?
Understanding why you get hungry is key to being able to listen to your body and live a healthy, happy and balanced life.
WHY YOU GET HUNGRY
When your stomach and intestines are empty, your body produces two chemicals that signal your brain to search for food. Two hormones that impact your hunger are ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) and leptin (Which signals your brain to tell you that you’re full).
When your stomach is empty, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, telling your brain that you’re hungry and need to search for food.
HOW TO BALANCE HUNGER
Eating nutritious foods helps to balance the production of these two important hormones. Specifically, the hormone ghrelin.
As mentioned, Ghrelin is a hunger hormone produced by the stomach and pancreas, that causes you to feel hunger. Ghrelin levels naturally increase before meals (sending hunger signals to the brain) and likewise decrease after meals (helping you feel full).
Research shows that overweight women have a higher level of ghrelin than women with healthy body compositions, which means that these overweight women are physically feeling hunger more often.
This hunger hormone can signal hunger to the brain, releasing chemicals that override your body’s actual needs and put you in physiologically in search of food even when it’s not physically necessary.
This hunger hormone can be dulled by the intake of two things:
Ghrelin levels naturally increase before meals (sending hunger signals to the brain) and likewise decrease after meals (helping you feel full).
If you feel that you have an appetite that is hard to satisfy, your body may be producing more ghrelin and less leptin- putting hunger hormones out of balance and causing you to feel more hungry more often.
Focus on protein and fiber rich foods (get your grocery list + see my pantry here) to balance this hunger and to dull the effects of the hunger hormone ghrelin as you work to fix your fat fighting hormones.
Check back everyday this week for the next post in this series!