Hunger Hormones, Weight Control and Diabetes

Have you ever tried to lose weight and eat right, but your hunger got the best of you? Wouldn't it be nice if we could lose weight and not feel like we are starving?

My body has enough fat storage to get me through the next meal at least! Why am I still hungry? The answer: blame your hormones.

There are specific hunger hormones that signal the brain when we are hungry or full. These hormones, leptin and ghrelin, sometimes get their signals either turned off or confused for various reasons. These can cause weight gain, hunger, or trouble losing weight.

Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite, and also plays a role in body weight.

Levels of leptin -- the appetite suppressor -- are lower when you're thin and higher when you're fat. But "many obese people have built up a resistance to the appetite-suppressing effects of leptin", says obesity expert Mary Dallman, PhD, from University of California at San Francisco.

What We Know About Ghrelin

Ghrelin, the appetite increaser, is released primarily in the stomach and is thought to signal hunger to the brain.

The body increases ghrelin if a person is undereating and decreases it if he or she is overeating.

Sure enough, ghrelin levels have been found to increase in children with anorexia nervosa and decrease in children who are obese. Normally, ghrelin levels go up dramatically before you eat; this signals hunger. They then go down for about three hours after the meal. But some researchers believe that ghrelin is not as important in determining appetite as once thought. They think that its role in regulating body weight may actually be a more complex process.

What We Know About Leptin

Of the two hormones, leptin -- the appetite suppressor -- appears to be the bigger player in our bodies' energy balance. Some researchers think that leptin helps regulate ghrelin. Leptin helps signal the brain that the body has enough energy stores such as body fat. But many obese people don't respond to leptin's signals even though they have higher levels of leptin.
In general, the more fat you have, the more leptin is in your blood. But the level varies depending on many factors, including when you last ate and your sleep patterns.

A study showed that rats that were given doses of leptin ended up eating less, but this effect lasted only about two weeks. It seems that the rats developed a resistance to leptin's appetite-cutting effects.

How does this relate to Diabetes?

When we eat carbohydrate, this stimulates our pancreas to make more insulin and also tells the body to start making leptin (to say we are getting full). Once there’s enough leptin circulating to slow our appetite, reducing ghrelin, our body then slows insulin production and increases the muscles’ and fat cells’ sensitivity to insulin. This allows our body to absorb the glucose from the meal faster and more efficiently.

When we eat too much carbohydrate or low quality, starchy or sugary carbohydrate, we will make more insulin than normal. This gradually makes our body overproduce leptin, and thus causes our body to become less sensitive to the effects that leptin has to suppress appetite.

Put simply, eating too much low quality carbohydrates can make us less sensitive to the feeling of being full—over time, making us feel more hungry, less satisfied, and causing us to eat more. Oftentimes, this sensation will cause us to be not just hungry, but starving, and actually lead to uncontrollable cravings for the super unhealthy.So start now. See this link for more information on how to beat the hunger hormones.

Careful, the snack aisle can be a temptingly dangerous place. Ask us at Unified Care app for more ways to curb cravings.

September 2, 2020 | Categories: Basic, Diabetes, Diabetes Basic, Weight Management, Wellness | Comments Off