Monday, 21 May 2012

Is Ghrelin Making You Fat?

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Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone that has been riding the waves of fame.  If you know the expression ‘keep your enemies close’, then you know that it’s sensible to start getting familiar with the ins and outs of our dear 'food greedy' hormone.

# Does ghrelin increase your appetite after weight loss?

Sadly a review in Obesity 2010 thinks so.  You may have lost a few dress sizes, but your gorgeous new figure and weight loss may lead to compensatory increase in hunger, cravings and decreased ghrelin suppression that encourages weight re-gain. UH OH.

# Am I doomed to stay fat?

Of course not and there’s loads that you can do to overcome temptation island.  Keep reading for the good news.

# Do you eat breakfast?

What a sensible start to your day to prevent over-indulging later.  ‘Break the overnight fast’ with petit dejeuner.   

What you may not know is that a study in Steroids this year showed that ghrelin levels were suppressed almost by half after eating breakfast.  Include protein and carbs in this meal and you’ll also enjoy significantly improved hunger and craving scores. 

Egg on toast anyone?  Sound good?  Better still, you are more likely to continue to lose weight if you eat carbs and protein, than just a low carb breakfast due to increased satiety from protein.  So ditch the low carb meal and somebody please pass me the banana and yoghurt!

# Are you coping with stress?

Research suggests that ghrelin is drawn to stress like bee is to honey.  It responds by increasing its levels with heightened stress hormones. 

Are you stressing already?  Stop panicking!  Jump off that stress wagon and find ways of coping with stress. 

Schedule in regular exercise, it could be as simple as walking 30 minutes a day.  So before life stressors make you ditch your diet plans, just follow these simple tips and you’ll help keep surging levels of ghrelin at bay. 

Regular exercise is also of course a great way to help maintain your beautiful new body.  If you don’t believe me, one study in Endocrine 2008 showed that exercise decreased ghrelin levels, leading to smaller meals and lower body weight.  Time to get your walking shoes out?

Don’t forget, losing weight is the easy part, maintaining this weight loss, is the more challenging part.

# Are you sleeping enough?

Before you trade in your beauty sleep for an extra hour on the books, thanks to the Journal of Sleep Research, we also know that even a single deprived night of sleep could lead to increased hunger and appetite as a result of higher ghrelin levels.  It’s the calorie-dense, sugary foods that you’ll most likely be after too.

The Purple Impression

Eat breakfast.  Exercise and find ways to cope with stress. But most importantly, think twice before burning the midnight oil. 

On that note, I think I am going to get my beauty sleep.

What are your thoughts on ghrelin?  If you have juicy new research at your finger tips, then please do share.  I love hearing from you.