Hormones and Food Cravings

Do you ever feel like you can’t get enough snacks in the day or that you’re never full? Did you know that your hormones can be the culprit?

Many of us think of hormones as substances in the body which are uncontrolled. The definition of “hormone” in the book, Lick the Sugar Habit, by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. is as follows: “a chemical produced by a gland and secreted into the blood that affects the function of distant cells or organs.” Our endocrine system is largely responsible for our hormone production. Did you know that endocrine glands and their hormones do not only target reproduction, growth, and development, but also help to regulate metabolism and digestion, electrolyte balance, blood pressure, body temperature, and elimination?

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So how does food impact hormones and what can I do to help regulate my body? The easiest place to start is to eliminate white sugar and refined foods which spike blood glucose and insulin. In the book, Life Without Bread by Christian Allen Ph.D. and Wolfgang Lutz MD, it is emphasized that “carbohydrate consumption has a direct effect on hormonal balance.” We have been taught the following falsehoods, 1) to eat many small meals or snacks during the day and 2) that it does not matter what type of calorie you eat. The truth is that when we follow those two rules, we are eating increased carbohydrates and sugar, and decreased healthy fat and protein. Carbohydrates bring about a much larger production of insulin. Insulin’s job is to transport glucose to be used immediately as energy, or to store it as fat for later use. When we do not continuously snack, and our insulin levels are low, our body has the opportunity to use a different hormone, glucagon to metabolize fat. But, if we keep snacking, we do not allow our body to switch to fat metabolism. This yo-yo effect on our blood glucose keeps us addicted to all varieties of sugar and especially processed refined snacks.

If you find that you constantly feel hungry, this may be why! To reduce your cravings, start with the first meal of the day, breakfast! Be sure to increase your healthy fats and proteins, and reduce or eliminate processed foods and refined sugars.

Healthy living and proper nutrition are essential for overall health and well-being. If you haven’t started on your journey to overall health, call and schedule your new patient evaluation today!

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