Hunger Hormones and The Magic of Fasting
“Fasting is the greatest remedy —
the physician within.” ~Paracelsus
In a world of diet fads, there are very few things that are tried, true, and timeless. Fasting is one of the most ancient practices still going on today. That alone lets us know it’s worth looking into. I will be writing over the next few days several things Fasting does to improve our lives and help us achieve our goals. Today – Hunger Hormone Regulation.
1. Fasting Regulates your ‘Hunger Hormones’ Leptin and Ghrelin.
Leptin is THE Appetite Suppressing Hormone. It tells your body that there is energy in the bank to be spent still. Leptin is released primarily by fat cells into the blood stream. Fat is your bodies energy bank – when fat is processed it releases Leptin – The Leptin says, “I got this!”
But wouldn’t you expect people with high levels of body fat to not be hungry if this was the whole story?! Well, your brain develops resistance to this chemical because of it’s abundance, therefore it has to have the ‘reset’ button pushed. This can only be done by fasting. There is no other way to reset your hunger hormones, but to give your body frequent 12-24 hour fasts.
Ghrelin is the Hungry Hormone – It tells your brain that it’s time to eat. When your brain is resistant to Leptin – it doesn’t recognize its presence even if it’s abundant; then it releases the Ghrelin (Growlin, to help you remember) monster in your belly. It tells you to eat and it won’t shut up until you do, and even then just for a few hours because your body isn’t responding to Leptin without a fast.
How does Fasting Reset the Hunger Hormones?
We have been programed against the grain! We have been told to eat whenever we want. We have been told that eating every 3-4 hours is the best way to nourish our bodies. But that is only true for babies and people on weight gaining diets. Your body will always preference food in the belly over the fat around it. By eating every 3-4 hours we tell our body not to worry about responding to leptin – the appetite suppressing hormone – We don’t need to pull energy from our fat and glycogen stores when there is always fresh fuel being delivered to our digestive system. Now our Ghrelin is screaming like a 3 month old baby every few hours – it’s never happy and all it thinks about is getting that belly filled. We learn to be slaves of the ghrelin hunger hormone and develop resistance to the leptin – the appetite suppressing hormone.
Fasting resets the system. Fasting tells your body that there isn’t a meal coming – it makes the Leptin ‘louder’ so to speak. Your body comes to realize that there is fuel stored in your fat and that it can go after that instead. Ghrelin should only be kicking in when you truly NEED the food. Fasting helps your body re-learn how to listen to our hunger suppressing hormone – Leptin – more and regulates the Ghrelin levels to where they ought to be. Your body and mind essentially learn how to tell the difference between true hunger and appetite. Your body develops a preference for survivals sake towards the Leptin to derive it’s energy from fat and glycogen stores in the body – what this results in is more accessible weight management skills and results.
Fasting will retrain your hunger hormones
Fasting twice a week for 12-24 hours has proven to regulate and reset your hunger and appetite suppressing hormones to their default – causing you not to be confused about what and when to eat anymore. Fasting will help you learn what hunger is, and when and how to respond to it properly.