Megan Johnson McCullough –Most of us don’t struggle to have an appetite. Eating is a constant factor in our lives. It is a necessary component, filled with endless possibilities. And let’s face it, if there was a magic solution to controlling our appetites the inventor would be one rich person. There are several influences that affect your appetite and I’m going to educate on the hormones associated with feelings of hunger. Now don’t go grab your popcorn while you enjoy this Blog.
Leptin is the hunger hormone. By definition leptin is: “A hormone produced mainly by adipocytes (fat cells) that is involved in the regulation of body fat. Leptin interacts with areas of the brain that control hunger and behavior and signals that the body has had enough to eat” (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10875). The harsh reality is that leptin levels are lower when you are thin and higher when you are overweight.
Ghrelin is the other hunger hormone. By definition ghrelin is: “Ghrelin is one of the main hormones to stimulate hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals” (http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Ghrelin.aspx). So this is the hormone that makes us want to eat. This hormone also regulates your fluid intake, and according to studies, “One glass of water before every meal decreases the amount you will eat by at least 8 ounces and suppresses ghrelin” (http://www.montereydiet.com/ghrelin_and_leptin.html). Ghrelin is the hunger signal, so if not in balance this would be the hormone that affects eating disorders like binging.
So putting the two hormones together we can say that, “The world leptin means ‘full’ in Greek. Leptin is produced in the fat cells and released in the brain. Leptin gives us a feeling of satisfaction. While ghrelin enhances appetite, leptin acts as a satiety signal to diminish it” (http://www.montereydiet.com/ghrelin_and_leptin.html) . Researchers continue to look at how these two hormones lead to and influence obesity.
Our appetites are also influenced by other factors. These include our activity levels and social environments. smell, texture, presentation, and our own taste buds also stimulate and trigger hunger signals. We live in a food-centered culture. Blood glucose levels also cause us to become hungry because when they drop, we feel ready to eat. Scientifically speaking, “When you eat, your stomach distends, or stretches. The distension of your stomach activates the appetite control switch in the hypothalamus of the brain, which tells you to stop eating and diminishes hunger until it is time to eat again. This is how your appetite switch is turned off. When food enters your stomach it stimulates the release of a protein called cholecystokinin, or CCK. When CCK is released, the first thing it does is to close down the valve from the stomach into the GI tract. This slows the movement of food from the stomach. The longer food stays in your stomach, the more full you feel. Because of its effects, CCK is sometimes referred to as the ‘feel-full’ protein” (http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/appetite-101).
If only I could follow each of you around 24/7 day and control your appetite for you. I firmly believe that eating every 3 hours has truly helped regulate my blood sugar levels and keep me satiated. It’s hard to believe how mind controlling your appetite can be and how powerless we can feel sometimes. That is where I aim to help others and to find solutions to ward off the appetite demons. As we make one better choice at a time, we are accomplishing small feats that add up to our success on your fitness journeys. So tell your appetite to take its problems somewhere else because YOU are in control!!!!
Every BODY’s Fit www.everybodysfitoceanside.com