Hormones and Obesity
Obesity is not caused by an excess of calories, but instead by a body set weight that is too high because of a hormonal imbalance in the body. Hormones are central to understanding obesity. Everything about human metabolism, including the body set weight, is hormonally regulated. We don't consciously control our body weight any more than we control our heart rates, our basal metabolic rates, or body temperatures or our breathing. These are all automatically regulated, and so is our weight.Obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric imbalance.
- The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, MD
This is all GREAT news! First because that means it's not our fault! We didn't just sit around being lazy and eating too much like we are led to believe when we are overweight. We have a hormonal imbalance. And the second great news - this can be corrected!! It's all about lowering the insulin levels in our blood. When we lower insulin, we lower the body's ability to store fat and we also increase the body's ability to use the fat that's already stored for fuel rather than glucose. It's a win/win!
How do we lower insulin?
- Eat less frequently - how many times do we eat because we're bored or because it's a "meal time" but we aren't really hungry? Only eat when you're hungry. When you eat you create an insulin response - even if it's a small one. So the longer your body can be in a state of fasting, the more chance it has to work without insulin flooding the system and the more is has a chance to use the fuel it already has (fats which are used in the form of ketones).
- Eat foods that will not flood your bloodstream with glucose causing insulin to be released to take care of that glucose. That means eliminate simple carbs - sugar, starch, etc, and stick to minimal complex carbs, moderate protein, and higher fat content for your food.
- Don't replace those simple carbs with too much complex carbs or protein as too much of those can raise glucose and cause insulin to be released as well. Fats are the only macro that does not cause an insulin increase. This is why keto works so well!
Let's talk about hunger a little bit more.
Our bodies are great at telling us when we need to eat. That's because we have a hormone called Ghrelin that says - hey, you’re hungry so eat something. Our body knows when we need fuel and it will tell you. When we don't need anything our bodies tell us we're full.
We will also receive signals differently. For example - if you smell cooking food while you're hungry it's going to make you want to eat that food. But if you smell that same food after you've just eaten a large meal it might not smell as good and it might even make you feel queasy. lol! That's your body's way of saying - no, you don't need that.
So if hormones are what control our hunger then obesity is a hormonal issue.
It's not about how many calories are consumed and it’s not just being lazy and not exercising enough. It’s about a proper hormone balance. Control your insulin and control your health.