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The Rollercoaster Of Hunger Explained

07.12.2016

How do hormones affect our hunger? Well, it is common to associate hormones with mood, patience, and perhaps an ever so slightly unpredictable female! However, hormones are whizzing around in all of us, and the majority of us don’t recognise the crucial role they play in our health. Hormones regulate essentially everything your body does – from controlling blood sugar levels to basic survival mechanisms involving stress, fear and love.

 

 

There are two key hormones that monitor our appetite: Leptin and ghrelin.

  • Ghrelin - You produce ghrelin in your stomach, which then sends messages of hunger to your brain.
  • Leptin - Leptin is a concentration of fat cells, which sends messages to your brain to decrease appetite and also increases metabolism.

 

So how exactly can you enable these hormones to work in your favour? There are three main factors to consider when combatting hormonal hunger.

 

1. Increase protein

Results from a study have shown that increasing protein intake form 15% to 30% made people unconsciously decrease their calorie intake by up to 450 calories each day. Protein also causes the body to create a further appetite decreasing hormone call petide YY – this means that you will feel fuller for longer. When it comes to protein, stick to lean meats, fish and vegetarian protein sources such as lentils, beans, tofu, chickpeas and nuts and seeds.

 

2. Regular meals and snacks

Your hunger hormones will take you on a rollercoaster ride if you go hours without a meal or snack. Your leptin will stop production, but your ghrelin will continue to multiply. This will slow down your metabolism and also increase your hunger and cravings for high fat and high sugar foods.

 

3. Increase fibre

Studies have shown that if you eat plenty of fibre, your ghrelin levels can decrease by up to 23%. This means that you will feel fuller for longer and will be less likely to experience cravings. Foods that are high in fibre include: Oats, beans, lentils fruit and veg, whole meal pasta and bread, brown rice and nuts.

 

If you follow the three steps above, you will be well on your way to living a life without the dreaded hormonal hunger. Eating meals and snacks that will satisfy you and keep you remaining full until your next one will make avoiding the temptation of the vending machine or confectionary aisle far easier to achieve.

 

Click on any of the below boxes for more tips and tricks. 

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