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Hormones in Charge of Belly Bulge Resistance

February 05, 2016  |  Difficulty: Easy

hormones

If your caloric intake is greater than your energy expenditure, then the calories gained from food and drinks don’t burn off -- they settle in the form of fat folds and creases. Here the recommendation is simple, just limit the intake of too many calories and start exercising. But there are many cases where people actually restrict their food intake and still cannot get rid of the excess fat. You might have started as simply overweight, but once the excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on your health, you will be diagnosed as obese.

The belly parts are the most affected by settling fat. If the adipose tissue has gained an important position in the body, it won’t give it up very easily. If you are on a diet limiting carbohydrate intake and exercising regularly, and you still can’t lose the belly fat, the problem may be hidden in a disrupted hormonal balance.

Let’s take a look at the hormones which play their role in food intake and body weight in humans.

Estrogen and Progesteron

Menopause is often blamed for causing women to hold onto weight in their bellies. This is true. In menopause, production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone slows down. Meanwhile, testosterone levels also start to drop, but at a slower rate, and this shift in hormones is the cause.

Leptin

Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite. Ghrelin  is a hormone that increases appetite; therefore, this hormone is believed to be the leading driver of obesity. Leptin sends a signal to the brain that enough energy is stored and nothing more needs to be eaten. The more fat in the body, the higher the leptin level.  Even if there is a lot of fat and, therefore, a lot of leptin being secreted into the bloodstream due to the leptin resistance, the brain doesn’t register the leptin and thinks the body is starving. The brain thinks we need to conserve energy, so it makes us feel lazier and makes us burn fewer calories at rest. At this stage, the increased food intake is driven by the hormones. People with leptin resistance tend to be obese and the hormone is often called the "starving hormone" or "fat hormone". Eat more Omega-3s (fish, grass-fed meats, chia seeds) and minimize your Omega-6 consumption (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc.) to get lower inflammation and help support healthy leptin levels. Also, workout in the evening, not in the morning, to support the right hormone levels. Include more protein and healthy fats in your breakfast to support the body’s building blocks to make hormones.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is a hormone made by the stomach when it’s empty. It is produced by specialized cells that line the stomach and the pancreas. This hormone tells our brain that we are hungry - ghrelin regulates, in an antagonistic manner to leptin, the synthesis and secretion of several neuropeptides in the hypothalamus that regulate feeding and associated hypothalamic functions. 

While leptin is a hormone that decreases your appetite, ghrelin is a hormone that increases the appetite. The lack of suppression of plasma ghrelin  after a meal in obese people may contribute to increased food consumption. The trouble when on a diet is that fasting and weight loss increase the ghrelin levels. When ghrelin levels are too high, the brain wants food – even if we are full. And when ghrelin levels are high, the food we crave is high in calories, especially foods that are loaded with fat. A study has confirmed that skipping breakfast is just like injecting ghrelin. The fix? Include about 35 g of protein in your breakfast, eat oats, eggs, nuts, Greek yoghurt, tuna, pumpkin seeds, and chia. Protein is the best way to lower post meal ghrelin levels. So don’t skip breakfast if weight loss is your goal; instead, include some good protein foods.

Homocystein

The deficiency of vitamin B6, folic acid (B9), and B12 may also have an indispensable influence on failing to lose the belly bulge despite all efforts. Some people may also have genetic predispositions toward insufficient absorption of these three vitamins. Yet they play key roles in decreasing homocysteine levels. Elevated levels of homocysteine are then accompanied by fluid retention and weight gain, and they also dramatically increase one’s risk of having a heart attack.

To fix this, pay attention to consuming foods rich in these three B vitamins. Good sources of vitamin B6 include poultry, fish, beans, leafy greens, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe. Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils are naturally good sources of folate (B9). Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods, so vegans are more susceptible to B12 deficiency. It has been, however, confirmed in chlorella spirulina but testing has indicated this is not a reliable source of active vitamin B12. Therefore, you should include meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.

Insulin

If you have insulin resistance, it is virtually impossible to lose fat. You may not be diabetic; anyone can experience an insulin imbalance when the body’s insulin simply becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar. This causes the carbohydrates you consume to be stored as fat. Confirmed by a study, consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before a high carb meal significantly reduces blood glucose levels for people with insulin resistance. You should also raise your intake of protein. This balances the blood sugar levels and keeps the insulin levels low. A higher-protein diet helps to shed stubborn belly fat, according to a study published in Diabetes Care (March 2002). If you want to follow a high-protein diet, include scallops, soy protein, beans, nuts, fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, pork, and low-fat dairy products.

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