Barefoot Origins – Restoring Natural Health to the Modern World

Hormonal weight loss

Your weight can be controlled by hormones. Different studies found that hormones affect your appetite and how much fat you store. 

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1. Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in your pancreas. It hides in small amounts throughout the day and in large quantities after eating. Insulin allows your cells to take blood sugar for energy or storage, depending on what time is needed.

Insulin is also an important hormone for storing fat in the body. It tells fat cells to store fat and prevents stored fat from breaking down. When cells are resistant to insulin (very common), both blood sugar and insulin levels rise significantly.  Overeating especially sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fast foods can reduce insulin resistance and boost insulin levels.

Here are some tips that can help to normalize insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Avoid sugar: higher intake of fructose and sucrose increase insulin resistance and raise insulin levels

Reduce carbohydrates: high carb diet can cause a sudden increase in insulin levels

Take more protein:   Protein actually increases insulin in the short term. However, it can cause long-term reductions in insulin resistance by helping you lose belly fat.

Eat healthy fats: Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish aid to lower fasting insulin levels.

Exercise regularly: according to a study overweight people who walk have an improvement in insulin sensitivity.

Get enough magnesium:  Magnesium can help to improve insulin sensitivity. So insulin-resistant people should take a sufficient amount of magnesium.

Drink green tea: Drinking green tea can also lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

2. Ghrelin

Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that sends a message to your brain tells you to eat. Normally ghrelin levels are higher before eating and after taking a meal it lowers for about an hour. Overweight people have more ghrelin levels than normal-weight people. Studies found that in overweight people ghrelin only decreases slightly after meals due to which brain doesn’t receive a strong signal to stop eating that can promote overeating.

Here are some tips to improve the function of ghrelin.

Sugar: don’t take high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened drinks because it decreases the ghrelin response after meals.

Protein: too much consumption of foods rich in protein can reduce ghrelin levels and promote satiety.

3. Leptin

Leptin is a hormone released from the fat cells and known as the “satiety hormone” that increases feelings of fullness and reduces appetite. This hormone sends signals to your hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain that regulates appetite and food intake. In overweight people, leptin levels are 4 times higher than normal-weight people. 

Unfortunately, in obese people leptin system doesn’t work as it should this is known as leptin resistance. Hence leptin doesn’t send messages to the brain to stop eating. The main reasons for leptin resistance are chronically elevated insulin levels and inflammation in the hypothalamus.

Here are few tips for improving leptin sensitivity:

Avoid inflammatory foods: avoid foods that can cause inflammation like sugary drinks and trans fats. Use more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish.

Exercise regularly:  Regular exercise help to improve leptin sensitivity.

Get enough sleep:  Studies found that insufficient sleep can cause a drop in leptin levels and increased appetite.

4. Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released by adrenal glands when your body senses stress. Higher levels of cortisol can promote overeating and weight gain. It is observed that women who carry more weight around the middle are due to stress with a greater increase in cortisol.

Here are some strategies that can help to control cortisol levels

Balanced diet: Eat a balanced real food-based diet and do not cut back on calories.

Meditate: Meditation can also help to reduce cortisol production.

Listen to soothing music: researches show that listing to soothing music help to control cortisol levels.

Sleep more: Getting enough sleep can help to normalize the production of cortisol.

5.  Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone that is generated by cells in the brain and nervous system. This hormone promotes hunger especially for carbohydrates and its secretion is increased during periods of fasting or food deprivation. Levels of neuropeptide Y are increased during stress which can promote overeating and abdominal fat gain.

Here are some ways to lower NPY:

Eat enough protein: Eating less protein can increase the release of NPY which promotes hunger increased food intake and weight gain.

Don’t fast for too long: studies found that a very long fast such as over 24 hours, can dramatically promote NPY levels.

Soluble fiber:  Too much use of soluble prebiotic fiber feed the friendly bacteria in the gut and can reduce NPY levels.

6. Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1)

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that is formed in your gut when nutrients enter the intestines. GLP-1 plays an important role to keep your blood sugar levels stable and gives you feelings of fullness. Studies found that a decrease in appetite that occurs suddenly after weight loss surgery is due to the increased formation of GLP-1.  It was observed that men who take GLP-1 solution with breakfast feel more satiated and eat 12% fewer calories at lunch.

Here are some ways to increase GLP-1 levels

Eat more protein: high protein foods like fish, whey protein, and yogurt help to increase the levels of GLP-1 and improve insulin sensitivity.

Leafy greens: studies found that women who consume green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale have greater GLP-1 levels and lost more weight.

Take Probiotics Supplements: Probiotics increase GLP-1 levels which reduce food intake.

7. Cholecystokinin (CCK)

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is also a satiety hormone that is produced by cells in your gut. Higher amounts of CCK can help to reduce food intake in both lean and obese people.

Here are some ways that can help you to increase CCK

 Protein: try to increase your protein intake at every meal.

Take healthy fats: eating healthy fats increase the release of CCK

Eat fiber-rich foods: one observational study found that men who take fiber-rich meals have twice increased in CCK compared to those who eat a low fiber diet.

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