Many people think male vs. female whenever they think about hormones. But your body sends messages in more hormonal forms that just estrogen and testosterone. There are many key hormone players on your weight management team, and we’d like to introduce you some you may not be fully acquainted with yet.
The importance of controlling appetite with regards to weight loss is undeniable and unavoidable. When you are chewing on your erasers and pulling your hair out in an effort to resist cravings, something must be sending the wrong signals from your middle! Why would your body want to eat more instead of burning some of that stored energy.
Some of the hormones that control appetite can suppress it (like leptin and CCK) or stimulate it (like Neuropeptide Y).
However in order for these to work properly, your brain-gut communication must be in sync.
You have a ‘satiety center’ as well as an ‘appetite center’ in your brain, located within the hypothalamus. Unfortunately for those of us looking to curb food intake, the feeding center is always active, unless the satiety center is suppressing and inhibiting it. One of the hormones that play on the satiety team is cholecystokinin (CCK). When this hormone (produced in the gut) is present in significant levels, signals of fullness and satiety are sent to the brain, and food cravings can be turned off. When your stomach stretches from food, the signal of CCK to your brain to stop eating is enhanced. A higher feeling of satiety can be achieved by incorporating higher fiber foods, as well as mono and poly-unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, avocados, olives and oils.
How It Works
Fats increase the amount of CCK released in the gut, while fiber ensures that CCK stays in the bloodstream longer. This keeps the feeding center suppressed after eating. Protein is also very important for that full feeling. Protein is slowly absorbed, and your body releases hormones that travel to the brain telling it that you are satisfied. It is helpful to eat more slowly, so that these hormone signals have time to reach the brain and register that you are full, even if there are a few bites still left on your plate.
Many people have cravings that cannot be controlled, and so to keep patients from overeating and to regulate appetite, some doctors will recommend an appetite suppressant. Some drugs have been developed that have appetite controlling properties, such as meridia, phentermine, orlistat, and sibutramine. Other drugs, such as Alli, bind to fat in the gut so that it is not absorbed but simply passes through the body. Researchers are busy looking to develop drugs that may block the inactivation of CCK, and keep you feeling fuller, longer.
The best way to keep appetite levels normal seems to be making sure you have protein at every meal or snack, and to control the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. The Cederquist Program promotes meals that provide a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat) that stabilize blood sugars through the day, helping to control cravings and keep you feeling satisfied. So that the hormones that keep you satisfied work longer, and help you lose weight without a battle.