It should come as no surprise that the human body is very complex and involved. Appetite is no different. Have you ever wondered why you crave certain foods or why you feel hungry or why obese individuals seem to have an insatiable appetite? Well, there are many key players in your cravings game, and there are more influences on them than food, but also lifestyle (like stress and sleep) likes to jump in and play. What are some of these players (hormones)?
- Leptin (we’ll go more in-depth with this on Thursday) lets your body know how much fuel it has and when to put on the breaks when eating. A key for metabolism and appetite regulation.
- Ghrelin (we’ve covered this in a past post) signals that we’re hungry and low on energy. Ghrelin hormone: increases food intake, increases fat mass, and stimulates hunger. It’s produced in the stomach and pancreas, as well as the brain, where it stimulates growth hormone (pretty impressive). Basically ghrelin can lead to cravings of sugar-rich foods and calorie restriction leads to ghrelin secretion, which can lead to uncontrollable cravings (which is why most calorie restricted diets can lead to later bingeing and overeating). This hormone is affected by SLEEP (shocker!) Getting less than 5 hours of sleep can increase ghrelin (and hunger) by 15% and 15% less leptin.
- Adiponectin, again lets us know we’ve had enough to eat, plus it protects arteries from oxidative damage. It’s secreted by adipose tissue (aka fat). What does t do? Decreases the breakdown of protein to glucose (gluconeogenesis), increases glucose intake, and protects endothelial dysfunction. What relates to levels? Fat of course! Body fat percentage correlates to adiponectin levels. So again, besides setting you up for disease, excess weight makes you hungrier, so you keep feeding your fat. Adiponectin is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (I know something else that’s shocking, Not!).
- Peptide YY: this shows why what you put in your mouth relates to cravings. The more peptide YY released the more satisfied. Protein, followed by fat releases the most peptide YY. Carbs? Of course they’re the troublesome student, and release little peptide YY. The hormone is produced in the gut, where it decreases hunger, while also improving central nervous system sensitivity to leptin.
Bottomline about hunger? Excess body fat makes you crave more sugar-rich (virtually nutrition-free) foods, that don’t satisfy you, so that you’re in a perpetual cycle of craving, never able to control insulin. So then you should just go on a calorie restricted diet? Wrong, this to can lead to over consumption, therefore more weight gain. Look at what foods you’re eating. Less carbs (grains, starches, and sugars) and more protein and fats for satiety and energy. Of course there are more influences. Work on decreasing stress, as chronic cortisol levels can wreak havoc on you. Sleep! I don’t know how much more I can preach about sleep! It gets so disrespected and pushed to the side, as something we can maybe do later. Wrong! Sleep is so essential, especially for your hormones, and body balance and homeostasis. Be a fat-burner, be care-free, and catch some z’s and you’re on your way to appetite and craving control! For more on our fat-burner weight-loss programs check out our website at bodychange.net.