What You Can Do: Stop Overeating The Foods That Cause Insulin Resistance
How do we ensure our insulin levels remain balanced? First, we need to stop eating too much. Its a known fact that overeating leads to insulin resistance, especially when we eat too much food thats no good for our bodies and minds. When we eat too much sugar, too much fast food, and too many processed carbohydrates, insulin goes haywire. These elevated insulin levels lead to weight gain and low-grade inflammation. A 2010 study published in the journal Diabetes found that even eating too much of these foods in the short term leads to insulin resistance and weight gain.
You may also want to restrict carbohydrates in your diet. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, a low-carb diet prevents metabolic syndrome and the insulin resistance that causes it. Other findings show drinking green tea, consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, and eating adequate amounts of protein all help balance insulin levels.
The Bottom Line: You Have To To Address Your Hormone Imbalances
Now you know the “whys” of your broken metabolism, these are reasons regular diets don’t address the root cause of your weight gain. Hormones dictate what your body does with food. Talk to a doctor about fixing your hormones, and your body will slim down without any extra effort from you.
Hormone Balance For Weight Loss: Fact Or Fiction
Originally appeared in the spring 2019 issue of the American Fitness Magazine.
A quick online search for weight loss strategies reveals a plethora of hormone-balancing diets, supplements and medications. The premise behind these products is that hormonestiny chemical messengers that regulate physiological processesget out of balance, causing weight gain or foiling attempts to lose weight.
That seems like a reasonable claim, but is it true? What should you say when clients ask about hormones and weight management? In this article, well provide answers on the links between body weight and five of the most talked about hormone imbalances: those relating to insulin, cortisol, the thyroid hormones, testosterone and estrogen. Ill review the science and outline nutrition and exercise strategies to help your clients overcome weight loss plateaus and succeed at long-term weight loss.
The hormone issues discussed below often fade away with proper diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. Supplements and specialized diets typically address the symptoms of hormone imbalances, not the causes. Your clients may get better results if they understand the difference between the two.
Lets dive in!
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Weight Loss And Hormone Balance: Reclaim Your Victorious Cycle
One of the wonderful things about weight loss and hormone balance is that they go hand-in-hand. Just as hormone balance can lead to weight loss, losing a few pounds can help bring your hormones back into their optimal levels. For example: belly fat has a much higher concentration of estrogen drop 5 pounds and youll see your estrogen levels swing into that sweet spot of not too high and not too low. Give up alcohol, and it lowers cortisol, raises testosterone, and balances estrogen.
To balance your hormones naturally and reclaim your weight and metabolism, .
About Sara Gottfried MDSara Gottfried, MDNew York Times
Understand How Insulin Impacts Weight
Insulin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. Made by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for storing blood sugar, or utilizing it, depending upon your bodys needs of the moment. After you eat a large meal, a substantial amount of insulin releases itself into the bloodstream. It also enters the bloodstream as needed throughout the day, ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable.
Another key function of this essential hormone is fat storage. Insulin decides how much fat to store, and how much to convert for energy expenditure. Chronically high levels of insulin can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, which is linked to an uptick in blood sugar as well as continued elevated insulin levels.
Preventing this insulin imbalance is crucial, as it leads to weight gain, and eventually type 2 diabetes. When insulin levels remain high over an extended period of time, obesity and metabolic syndrome are often the unfortunate outcome.
How To Balance Your Hormones To Lose Weight Naturally
If you include Fat, Fiber, and Protein in every meal and snack, it will help you not only keep the weight off, but it will also allow your body to regulate your hormones, and balance your blood sugar. So instead of just an apple for a snack in the afternoon, have it with a tablespoon of almond butter. Add some greens to your smoothie with a handful of nuts and a tablespoon of coconut oil. You will be satisfied throughout the day and those cravings will simply disappear!
If you have any questions or would like help in losing weight, comment below or email me!
Fiber. The Nutrition Source. Harvard TH Chan, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.Haas, Elson M., and Buck Levin. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: TheComplete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley:Celestial Arts,2006. Print.Siri-Tarino, Patty W., Qi Sun, and Frank B Hu. Patty W Siri-Tarino. Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat with Cardiovascular Disease. ACJN Online, 13 Jan. 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Adiponectin The Starvation Hormone
Adiponectin is a hormone produced by the fat cells. Its main function is to increase the rate at which the body breaks down fat, boost metabolism, enhance muscles ability to use carbohydrates for energy, and regulate glucose levels.
The more adiponectin you have, the more fat you burn. Also, the more fat you carry around, the harder it is for your body to produce adiponectin. So as you lose weight and your percentage of body fat decreases, your adiponectin levels rise, helping you to lose even more fat and maintain the loss more easily than before.
When adiponectin levels are low, the body stores excess fat in fat cells to protect against possible starvation during difficult times hence its nickname, the starvation hormone.
To positively influence adiponectin levels:
- Take fish oil daily: daily intake of fish oil or omega-3 supplementation can increase adiponectin levels by 14-60%.
- Exercise: both low and high intensity exercise have a positive impact on adiponectin levels. However, shorter duration higher intensity exercise is perhaps the most effective form of exercise as it has a more pronounced impact on metabolism and other hormones. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can boost adiponectin levels by 18-48%.
- Increase fiber intake: fiber can increase adiponectin by up to 60-115%.
- Add monounsaturated fats into your diet: common sources include avocados, nuts, and olive oil.
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Are Your Hormones Keeping You From Losing Weight
Your hormones, especially insulin, plays a large role in your ability to lose weight. When theyre out of balance, all the extra willpower, deprivation, and exercise cant help you drop pounds. At 360 Medical Weight Loss Specialists, Dr. Gartner and her staff look at how your hormones might be standing in the way of your ability to lose weight.
Signs that hormones are impeding weight loss
If you honestly try hard to lose weight by sticking to a healthy, portion-controlled diet and exercising faithfully but see no budge in the numbers on the scale, you may have a hormone problem holding you back from achieving your weight loss goals.
Sometimes, hormones that are out of balance can make you believe you have a naturally sluggish metabolism or that those last 10 pounds youre desperate to lose are just never going to go away. You may also frequently experience a weight yo-yo you lose weight only to have it return and then some. Insulin thats out of whack can also make you crave certain foods.
These situations arent personal failures or a sign that youre destined to be overweight. You may have hormonal irregularities that make your weight loss somewhat out of your control.
Insulin is a key hormone
When your insulin levels are unregulated, other hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone can also fall out of balance and make weight loss even harder.
Insulin and cortisol
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How To Test Your Hormone Health
If you are concerned about your hormone health, you can have your hormone levels tested in the following ways:
- Saliva testing: Saliva testing measures your bodys hormones levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA levels. When you provide and test multiple samples over time, your healthcare provider can formulate charting changes in hormones with saliva testing.
- Blood testing: This type of hormone test requires that your blood is collected at a lab and then measured for hormone levels. A blood test can measure free and total hormone levels, which saliva and urine testing cannot do.
- Urine testing: A urine hormone test requires that you collect every drop of urine for a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone that is present and at what levels on that particular day. This is the most extensive hormone health test because it measures your hormone levels throughout the entire day, instead of the levels for a moment in time, which is the case for blood and saliva tests.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone testing: This type of test is commonly used to measure the hormonal status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.
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Ghrelin The Hunger Hormone
Ghrelin is a hormone released primarily by the stomach. Its main function is to increase appetite and store fat by acting on the brains pleasure centers and encouraging the production of NPY. In addition to being an appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin also affects food intake, chewing time, and taste preferences. Have you ever had to finish the whole tub of ice cream or empty the entire bag of chips just because you remembered how good it tasted? Well, blame ghrelin!
If you want to optimize ghrelin for weight loss, dieting is not the way to go. If you under-eat or go on a diet, your ghrelin levels increase, making it hard to lose weight and keep it off. Also, the longer you diet, the higher ghrelin levels rise. According to one study, ghrelin levels of bodybuilders who went on a 6-month low-calorie diet increased by 40%. Surprisingly, overweight people have actually lower ghrelin levels than lean people they are just more sensitive to ghrelins effects.
Apart from food, mindset has a surprisingly great impact on ghrelin as well. According to research, believing that the food you have just consumed is satisfying, drives your hunger hormone down significantly.
To positively influence ghrelin levels:
How To Balance Your Estrogen:
- Promote detoxification via the gut and the liver to ensure proper excretion of estrogen.
- Ensure you have adequate fibre in your diet to promote healthy bowel function to clear excess hormones from the body. Think plenty of vegetables every day aiming to fill half your plate with every meal.
- Ditch alcohol and caffeine where possible as they increase estrogen in the body and impact detoxification processes plus they contribute overall inflammation.
- Manage your stress where possible .
- Prioritise your sleep and implement a solid sleep routine.
- Be aware of environmental toxins and pay attention to what you are putting on your skin and using around the house and make natural swaps where possible.
Are hormones a piece of your weight loss puzzle? Consider that a hormone imbalance may be holding you back from losing or managing your weight. Please note, weight loss is multifactorial, sometimes complicated and very individualised AND is so much more than the number on the scales. Its about feeling energetic, confident, healthy and empowered and in tune with your body, knowing what is best for you.
As a holistic nutritionist I urge you to continue to not only nourish your mind and your body, but your hormones so you can feel and function at your best. Every. Dam. Day. To do this, you need to consider a holistic approach and take a look at the ways your hormones may be out of balance.
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How To Balance Cortisol For Weight Loss:
Simply put, you need to reset your bodys response to stress.
Gottfried recommends slowly weaning yourself off excessive caffeine or switching from coffee to tea. If tea isnt your favorite choice. you can also do other things to lower your cortisol levels, such as practicing mindfulness.
This idea may seem vague, but its really straightforward: slow down, breathe, and pay attention to what youre doing.
So often we get distracted and rush from thing to thing, and this task-switching can significantly raise stress levels.
Instead, try paying attention to one task at a time.
Other ways you can naturally lower your cortisol levels include:
- Taking a magnesium supplement or B vitamin
- Consistently get better, longer sleep
Free Phone Consultation With Our New Patient Coordinator
Our providers at Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. are devoted to understanding our patients health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and more. We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the necessary foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Contact our New Patient Coordinator for a Free Phone Consultation. She can explain our protocols and fees in more detail, answer any questions or concerns you have, and explain how our approach can help with hormonal balance, anti-aging, and disease prevention, so that you can enjoy a vibrant and healthy life!
Please contact her directly or complete the form below and she will contact you. There is no obligation with this consultation. If you feel we are a good fit for you, our New Patient Coordinator can also get you booked for your first appointment.
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Getting To Know Ghrelin
You can think of ghrelin as your hunger hormone. Like leptin, it communicates with the brain in this case, telling your brain to eat. Every time your stomach becomes empty, it naturally releases ghrelin into your bloodstream. Ghrelin levels are lowest just after youve finished a meal. Theyre at their highest when the stomach is empty and youre ready for your next meal. This scenario is normal when a person is healthy and maintaining optimal weight.
An overweight person, on the other hand, will find that like the other hormones weve explored ghrelin levels are typically out of whack. In healthy individuals, ghrelin levels decrease in a way that satiates them and signals their brains to stop eating. But in obese individuals, ghrelin levels dont decrease enough after eating, which fails to send the brain the signal it needs to stop eating and feel satisfied.
How To Balance Estrogen For Weight Loss:
To avoid estrogen dominance, you want to keep a fine balance between your progesterone and estrogen.
Integrative Medicine Doctor Sara Gottfried, M.D., recommends eating a pound of veggies per day, as she states the fiber will help remove any excess estrogen from the body.
Gottfried also recommends that women should aim for 35 to 45 gram of fiber intake per day, increasing their amount slowly so as not to cause stomach upset.
You can also naturally balance estrogen dominance by:
- Reducing your red meat intake
- Eliminating excess sugar or processed foods
- Exercising daily to promote detoxification
What Happens To Your Hormones After You Lose Weight
If youre overweight, everything is harder. Its harder to stay active. Its harder to find clothes that fit. Its harder to eat a healthy diet. Its harder to lose weight. Also on the list, its harder to stay disease free, especially as you age.
Why so many difficulties? One reason is that those extra pounds throw your hormones out of balance. And your hormones control just about everything, including how often you feel hungry, as well as your risk for certain types of cancers.
Kimberly Bolling, MD, has seen for herself how her patients transform almost every aspect of their lives through healthy weight loss and weight loss management. Here she details how weight loss helps to restore your hormones.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
1. Swap Carbs for Healthy Fats
Foods that balance hormones include a variety of fat-containing foods that provide short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol.
Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.
My four favorite sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include:
- coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.
- Coconut oil uses are plentiful for example, coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects.
- Avocado benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fiber and nutrients such as potassium.
- Salmon nutrition is also impressive: its one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help protect against hippocampal neuronal loss and reduce pro-inflammatory responses.
2. Supplement to Fill Nutritional Voids
3. Address Emotional Imbalances
6. Get More Sleep
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