Have you ever noticed that once you start eating it just leads to more and more eating?!
Well let me introduce to our new friend called Ghrelin. Have you ever heard of it?
It is the hunger hormone!
It is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it
- stimulates appetite,
- increases food intake and
- promotes fat storage.
Ghrelin causes those stomach rumblings as a physical reminder to eat.
This is an important hormone to understand and control in order to reach our weight loss goals.
So, if you want to lose weight on a long term basis, you need to bring down Ghrelin.
One would think that in order to bring down hunger we should eat/graze all daybut the answer is the actually the opposite –fasting!
Main points we should take from a study done on ghrelin by Society of the European Journal of Endocrinology 1
- Ghrelin levels are lowest first thing in the morning (9AM) which is the longest time of the day where you have not eaten (fast through the night) – proves the point that hunger is not a function of ‘not having eaten in awhile’
- Hunger comes in waves – 3 slight peaks of ghrelin levels (lunch, dinner and next day’s breakfast) but then it goes back down after 2 hours even if you don’t eat. Think of a time when you worked right through lunch and didn’t even realize it.
- Over the day of fasting, ghrelin levels stayed stable or decreased! Eating nothing over 24 hours made you no more or less hungry than when you started.
- It might be concluded that the secretion of ghrelin is subjected to processes of classical conditioning (i.e. Pavlov’s dogs)
So Ghrelin, our main hormonal mediator of hunger does not increase to crazy levels from Intermittent or extended fasts (it actually decreased!). One would think you would be ravenously hungry after fasting but usually the oppositeis true and the hunger disappears.
So perhaps it’s time to mix things up if you have been trying the same thing and getting the same result?!?
Remember – this is not calorie restriction (eating small amounts throughout the day) – this is going periods with no food but when you eat you can have afull, satisfying meal and then go back into fasting mode
Let me know if you have any questions!
Have a great rest of the week
P.S. Have you yo-yo dieted your whole life? Want to try intermittent fasting? Check out my Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal
P.S.S – Have questions? Want health tips? Join The Get Lean Club
1 Eur J Endocrinol June 1, 2005 152 845-850