People tend to blame their “insatiable appetite” for their weight gain and also for their inability to lose weight, but there’s a “culprit” you can tie this constant feeling of hunger to – it’s the hormone “ghrelin.” Human body needs nourishment to survive and this nourishment comes from the food we eat which gets converted to fuel that the body derives energy from to run its daily functions smoothly. The food we eat, right from the time it enters the mouth, goes through a systematic process of digestion which involves the brain, stomach, intestine, and the neurological system where signals are sent to the brain to tell when the stomach is empty and when it’s full. There are two hormones that basically run the show when it comes to appetite – leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the satiety hormone which basically sends signal to the brain when the tummy is full. On the other hand, “ghrelin,” which is called the hunger hormone sends signal to the brain that you are hungry, it basically stimulates the appetite. Ghrelin circulates in the bloodstream and influences the hypothalamus area of brain (which is responsible for controlling appetite), so that you feel hungry. In fact, abnormally high levels of ghrelin can make and keep you “hangry” all the time. As a result, you tend to consume more food and calories, and gain weight in the process.To lose weight and to control appetite, you need to control ghrelin levels. In this post, we will explore 15 ways to control hunger hormone ghrelin to lose weight.
How Ghrelin and Leptin Work?
Ghrelin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Ghrelin is also called the hunger hormone because it triggers appetite and when someone says, they have a “huge appetite,” they usually have high levels of ghrelin. This hormone is secreted by the stomach, brain, and pancreas. When you have high ghrelin levels, you tend to feel hungry all the time and when leptin hormone becomes resistant, you continue to remain hungry. Leptin is the satiety or fullness hormone that sends signal to the brain that you are “full” and have had enough food. Leptin and ghrelin usually work in unity, maintaining balance, ghrelin rising only when there is a need to replenish energy and leptin signalling when there’s enough food in the body. However, sometimes, the function of leptin gets affected and even when you have had enough food, leptin fails to send signal to the brain, and you are piling up on calories, uncertain of when to stop eating. Leptin resistance can also slow down your metabolism and increase ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels. All these factors not only prevents weight loss, it can make you gain weight with each meal.
What are the Functions of Ghrelin?
1. Stimulates appetite.
2. Encourages fat storage.
3. Protects cardiovascular system.
4. Regulates insulin release.
5. Regulates bone formation.
15 Ways to Control Your Hunger Hormone Ghrelin to Lose Weight
1. Sleep for at least 7 hours every night: We cannot just stop stressing on the importance of adequate sleep at night – for reducing stress, for losing weight, to get clear skin, for everything. When your body rests enough, it gets time to reset and same applies for hormones. People who sleep for less than 7 hours every night have higher levels of ghrelin and wake up the hungriest in the morning, with a ravenous appetite. We would also like to tell you that sleeping for 4 or 5 hours severely lowers leptin level and over time, will cause leptin dysfunction, making it hard for you to drop weight.
2. Stick to a meal schedule: This is where Rati Beauty can help in a great way. Stick to meal timings with proper snack timings so that ghrelin is trained to rise at appropriate time.
2. Reduce Stress Level: Easier said than done, stress also plays a major role in weight loss. When you cannot keep a tab over stress, it can cause a lot of damage to the body. Increased stress levels also increase ghrelin because it acts as a stress coping mechanism which explains why most people tend to overeat when they are stressed out or even just anxious. Burn the stress off by working out, listening to music, yoga, pursuing new hobbies, or just taking a stroll with your pet.
3. Workout Regularly: Studies have revealed that exercising reduces ghrelin levels considerably – reason enough for you to pick that dumbbell or practice yoga quite a number of times in a week.
4. Eat high-protein breakfast: Protein helps to suppress ghrelin and starting the day off with protein-rich breakfast will keep you full through the day, and prevent ghrelin from shooting up frequently.
4. Do not crash diet: It’s completely a wrong way to lose weight because when someone is strictly restricting calories, ghrelin levels increase, and as soon as you come out of crash dieting, ghrelin level will prevent you from eating mindfully.
6. Amp up fiber level: A high-fiber meal helps in controlling appetite by slowing the movement of food through the gut. Since fiber has low glycemic index, it also does not spike up insulin and thus reduces the chance of extra calories getting stored up as fat in the body.
8. Totally avoid Monosodium Glutamate in Fast Food: MSG or ajinomoto as it’s popularly known suppresses leptin hormone and increases ghrelin hormone.
9. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup rich food: Packaged juices, soda, canned fruit, may have high-fructose corn syrup that can play havoc on insulin and ghrelin levels. Always read labels when you buy packaged food.
10. Eat More Fermented Food: Indian food has amazing choices when it comes to fermented food, from idli, dosa, pickles, curd, lassi all strengthen the gut and help keep hunger hormones in check.
11. Keep artificial sweeteners away: It’s not at all advisable to replace refined sugar with artificial sweeteners because they are not good for your health or weight loss, read all about them here. Artificial sweeteners usually have compounds that stimulate ghrelin level but when there’s no real calories coming, the ghrelin level stays elevated and you crave for more food.
12. Eat wholesome food: As we have mentioned above, do not starve yourself. Eat colorful food that’s appetizing to look and filling too, with adequate fiber, protein, and healthy fat.
13. Eat whole carbs: Complex carbs and proteins regulate the production and release of ghrelin to a good extent.
14. Keep away trigger foods: Keep high calorie, processed, high sodium, and sugary treats away from your sight because they can shoot up ghrelin levels.
16. Eat these appetite-suppressing foods: Yes, include these 45 food items in your diet to suppress appetite and keep ghrelin in check.
17. Preloading with water: Water preloading is a healthy and almost effortless way to aid weight loss. In this strategy, experts recommend to consume 500 ml of plain water half an hour before each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Such a quantity of water before the meal will significantly stretch your tummy and as a result, there would be lesser release of the hunger hormone “ghrelin.”
18. Eat ginger: A small amount of ginger not only boosts metabolism and thermogenic effect, it also helps regulate ghrelin.
19. Eat raw honey: Yes people, replace refined sugar with raw honey because it helps to suppress appetite.
20. Portion control: Portion control is an essential aspect, not only to lose weight but also to maintain optimum health and to prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease and here’s how you portion control.