Your Hormones and Food

This information is designed to help shine a bit of light on how some of your hormones influence your body weight.

Ghrelin, leptin and insulin are just three of many hormones your body releases to regulate your body’s functions.

These hormones are really important when it comes to weight control.


Ghrelin is a hormone found in your stomach. It sends a signal to your brain to let you know when you’re hungry.

There are 3 reasons why you may have more ghrelin in your body:

1.     If you’ve conditioned yourself to eat at certain times (and frequently), you’ll have an increase in ghrelin. This release of ghrelin is more based on your conditioning rather than you being hungry.

2.     The more highly processed food you eat – the more ghrelin is released into your system.

3.     Ghrelin is released in direct response to stress. This may partially explain why you may feel the need to eat when you’re stressed.


Ideally to lose weight you want less ghrelin, so:

•  Eat less frequently (main meals only)

•  Eat whole foods

•  Reduce stress levels


Leptin is a hormone released by your fat cells to let your brain know when you’ve had enough to eat.

So, what this means is, the more fat you have on your body, the higher levels of leptin in your body. So, why then do overweight people get hungrier?

You can develop what’s known as leptin resistance. It’s similar to insulin resistance and impacts your ability to know when you’re full and hence stop eating.

Also, if you have too much insulin in your body, this will block the leptin message getting to your brain, so your brain won’t tell you you’re full and as a consequence you overeat.

Another component to consider is a lack of sleep, this can cause low leptin levels. Low leptin levels can encourage the body to go into ‘starvation mode’. Meaning your metabolism will slow down, your body will hold onto fat and try to conserve energy.

Harvard studies have shown that sleep deprivation reduced leptin levels and can increase your desire for carbohydrate rich foods.


•  Manage your insulin levels

•  Get enough sleep each night (the ‘right’ amount depends on the individual – but research

    usually suggests 7-8 hours).

•  Minimise processed food

•  Eat ‘good’ fats – grass-fed meat, fatty fish such as sardines, wild caught salmon, mackerel, grass fed organic butter or ghee.

Two good examples are:

•  Fish oil – try

•  MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) – try


Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and it controls your blood sugar. Basically, it determines if you gain, maintain or lose weight.

Insulin controls your blood sugar and takes glucose out of your blood and puts it into your fat or muscles.

If you have an overabundance of sugar in your diet the insulin has a hard time clearing the sugar from your blood and the excess sugar is stored as fat. So, the problem here is that insulin blocks your body’s ability to release fat…instead, it stores it.  

Manage your insulin and you’ll manage your hunger


•  Eat protein at every meal

•  Eat good fat at every meal

•  Reduce the amount of highly processed food (any food that’s been taken out of its natural state)

I’d love to hear your comments or questions!

Remember, YOU have the power to steer your own course in life.