Get to Know Your Hormones

Insulin, leptin, and ghrelin are the three major hormones that have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss causes changes in appetite and energy expenditure that can often promote weight regain. By understanding how these three hormones carry out functions in your body, you will have a much greater chance of controlling them and staying lean and healthy throughout life.


Insulin is an anabolic hormone released by the pancreas when glucose enters the bloodstream that increases storage of fat, protein, and glucose. Elevated and excess insulin in the body can stop you from burning fat, so if your goal is weight loss you need to keep insulin levels steady so that your body is able to burn fat effectively. A diet high in simple sugars and refined carbs can elevate insulin levels very quickly.


Leptin is a hormone that assists in regulating both appetite and metabolism. It’s manufactured in the fat cells and its primary function is to act on the part of the brain that controls appetite and the feeling of fullness. Many overweight people may have developed leptin resistance. Lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep and eating the right foods can help to lower serum leptin levels.


Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite. It is secreted by the stomach. Like leptin, it acts on that part of the brain that controls appetite, but it increases the appetite rather than decreases it (as leptin does). One of the main reasons people put back on lost weight after a diet is because gherkin levels increase significantly after a diet, resulting in uncontrollable hunger.

What to Do

  1. Avoid sugar, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, white potato, cakes, parties, etc).
  2. Consume an anti-inflammatory diet that consists mainly of good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, quality protein, and plenty of fresh vegetables (have a look at
  3. Exercise daily.
(Theresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef)