Can Your Hormones Make You Fat?
The answer is a big, fat yes. Here are the hormones that are responsible, and how they do what they do.Are you familiar with that frustrating experience where you’ve tried all the diet and workout tricks, and yet are not losing weight? Yes? Well, in that case, the culprits could be your hormones!
Hormones are the chemical messengers of our body that help control bodily functions. They play an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and regulate the levels of fat present in our bodies. A hormonal imbalance can lead to weight gain. Here is a list of the hormones to keep an eye on:
Insulin – Most of us have heard of insulin injections for diabetics. Insulin is a hormone that regulates our blood sugar levels. It turns some of the sugar into fat, and some into energy, to power the body. A high intake of carbohydrates increases our blood sugar and, hence, insulin secretion.
According to some experts, the more the insulin in the body, the more the fat.
Ghrelin – In these times of fast-paced living and jet-set travelling, we all experience some amount of sleep deprivation. When the body fails to get enough sleep, it starts secreting ghrelin, the hunger hormone, that makes us crave fatty and sweet foods. This results in unwanted weight gain. So to keep ghrelin levels down, sleep well.
Cortisol – Have you noticed that people under stress tend to gain weight? Most people suffer from stress today. Stress leads to an increased secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone.
The body senses trouble, and starts storing fat for survival; the craving for fatty food goes up. So, to fight fat, fight stress!
Leptin – The hormone leptin says, “Stop eating, you’re full”. Fat cells produce leptin. A type of sugar, fructose, causes leptin imbalance if it is present in the body in excess quantity. Fructose gets converted into fat.
Excess fat means excess leptin – its functional capacity breaks down as the body becomes resistant, leading to weight gain.
Oestrogen and testosterone – Although these hormones are present in both sexes, oestrogen is found in higher quantity in women, and testosterone is found in higher quantity in men. These hormones give the sexes their characteristics, and have a hand in weight management. Oestrogen aids insulin in managing carbs and, hence, weight.
If oestrogen levels rise, insulin productivity suffers, leading to weight gain. Testosterone, on the other hand, helps the development of muscles, thus burning fat. If the levels of this hormone decrease (increased secretion of oestrogen may lead to this), body fat increases.
Adiponectin – Insulin, the all-important fat metaboliser, has another helper in the hormone adiponectin. Studies have confirmed that adiponectin enhances the functions of insulin in fat burning. If for some reason adiponectin is low, insulin will not be properly utilised by the body, resulting in obesity.