- Weight Loss

Hormones and Weight Loss


There are 6 hormones chiefly responsible for determining whether the food we eat ends up as muscle, fat or get burned as energy.  They are: insulin, glucagon, growth hormone, thyroid hormone, cortisol and epinephrine.

   Over 90% of people who lose weight by caloric restriction return to their original weight within two years. This is because there is a weight-regulating center in your hypothalamus, which tries to maintain a constant body weight. (The hypothalamus and pituitary gland together represent the master endocrine gland of the body, controlling all of your hormonal responses.) It works like a thermostat by controlling your hunger level and your body’s metabolic rate. These effects are mediated by the nervous system and by hormones and enzymes involved in fat metabolism.

   If you want to change your body weight, or your body composition, you have to change the set point. The ratio of insulin to glucagon is perhaps the most important determinant of the set point. Both insulin and glucagon are produced by the pancreas, but have opposite effects. The concern of these hormones is blood sugar regulation. After eating a carbohydrate, it  is digested and sent into the bloodstream as glucose. As blood glucose levels rise, so does the release of insulin, which is required to move glucose into muscle cells for use as energy or to be stored as glycogen. If blood sugar levels rise too quickly, a large insulin release results. When this occurs, some of the glucose can be converted and stored as fat instead of being stored as glycogen in liver & muscle.

   Glucagon is released when blood glucose levels become too low. This hormone prepares fat to be used for energy as well as muscle glycogen stores. The net result is to keep blood glucose levels normalized. By manipulation of the diet, you can regulate the insulin to glucagon ratio.

.  Excess insulin cannot create muscle mass, but it will promote fat storage. It’s not the calories in sugar that make you fat – it’s the insulin response. READ THAT AGAIN!  When you eat carbohydrates they are digested and absorbed by the small intestine and transported directly to the liver via the portal vein. Essentially, all of the carbohydrates you eat are converted to glucose by the liver before being released into the bloodstream.

   This is why it is vitally important to detoxify and cleanse the liver before starting a weight reduction program. The liver must be functioning at 100% capacity to metabolize carbohydrates effectively. Fitness nutrition is NOT about how good you eat, it is all about WHAT nutrients your body can absorb to permit weight loss! I recommend a liver detoxification program prior to beginning any weight loss or exercise program. (These liver detox programs are available at most health and nutrition stores).

   Glucagon is released several hours after a meal when blood sugar levels drop. Glucagon has the effect of reducing glucose for energy and stimulating breakdown of body fat and the use of fat for energy. Glucagon also stimulates the glycogen breakdown.

The net result of glucagon is to raise the glucose levels back to normal and to signal the body to begin using fat for energy since it’s running low on carbs. This is how the body acts to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin decreases blood sugar by moving glucose into the cells, stimulating glucose burning for energy and increasing glycogen stores by shifting the metabolism from carb-burning to fat-burning.

   Remember, if insulin is present, fat burning is negative! This is why you only have high amounts if simple carbs after your workout. Because you carbed up AFTER the workout when it is most important and any further influx of carbs is going to leak out of a fully carbed up muscle and go to fat.


Source by Perry Nickelston

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