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How Can You Control Hunger Hormones?

Being hungry is actually a good thing. It is your body’s way of letting you know you need to eat to survive. The issue usually arises when the desire to eat consumes the person where they tend to overeat. On the other side, your body has a way of telling you there is no need to eat which also helps in keeping weight amongst other things in check.


Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating in trying to figure out your body and how to control your appetite. Some days are better than others but bringing it in and putting it down into healthy form is difficult. Having an understanding of what regulates hunger is a start in knowing how to control it.


The main movers for our appetite control are hormones called “hunger hormones”. These hormones are leptin (appetite suppressor) and ghrelin (appetite promoter). Research has shown that people who are thin have a lower level of leptin to ensure they eat and not wither away. Ghrelin, the appetite increaser, is released primarily in the stomach and is thought to signal hunger to the brain. Many would expect the body to increase ghrelin if a person is undereating and decrease 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.


Between the two hormones, studies show that leptin is actually a regulator of ghrelin. Leptin keeps the balances within normal range when the person is in an ideal weight. Obese people who actually possess more leptin have an immunity to the hormone. This of course prevents the hormone from doing its purpose of suppressing appetite thus allowing obese people to continue to overeat.


When trying to control these hormones, studies show the best approach is to avoid high fat foods. When we eat, messages go out to various parts of our bodies to tell us we've had enough. But when we eat fatty meals, this system doesn't work as well. Eating fat tends to lead to eating more calories, gaining weight, and storing fat. On top of avoiding high fat foods, implementing foods that are abundant in “good carbs” and protein also keeps ghrelin production in check, which helps prevent eating too much.


Another very effective way to control hunger hormones is getting adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation shows a significant increase in ghrelin production as opposed to an individual who gets at least 6-10 hours of regular sleep.


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