What do Hormones have to do with Eating?

Hormones sometimes get a bad rap. When things in our body aren’t working just right we have a tendency to blame hormones. Sure, some of the blame should be placed on them, but we are also in control. Hormones do affect our appetite and eating behaviors, the key is discovering the tricks that can help keep everything in balance. First though, let’s meet some of our hormones:

Grrrrrr…. Ghrelin

Ghrelin is the primary hunger stimulating hormone. It is produced by cells in the stomach lining and the pancreas. Ghrelin levels rise prior to having a meal and are at their lowest about one hour after a meal. Poor sleep patterns and interrupted sleep has been associated with increased levels of ghrelin.

Lovely Leptin h

The hormone leptin is produced in fat cells. It is responsible for suppressing appetite in the brain. There is ongoing research to discover if an overweight or obese person with increased body fat mass has a resistance to leptin.

Feel Good DopamineDopamine molecule

Dopamine is a neurohormone that activates the reward or pleasure receptors in our brain. This can easily affect both our mood and our food intake. High fat/high sugar foods cause an increase in our appetite and overeating, which is a vicious cycle that can cause a big increase in food consumption.

Hormones in Balance

So, how do you manage all of these fluctuating hormones? Try these tips to keep your hormones in balance:

By: Molly McBrayer, Clinical Manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatric and Metabolic Services

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