What could be more frustrating than losing fifteen pounds – and then slowly gaining them back? Weight regain after weight loss is a common problem among successful dieters. Have you ever wondered what causes weight regain after you’ve struggled so hard to lose those stubborn pounds? New research shows appetite hormones play a role in whether a person successfully maintains their weight loss after dieting.
Appetite Hormones and Weight Regain After Weight Loss
According to a study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are predictors of whether weight regain after weight loss occurs.
After measuring their levels of leptin, ghrelin, and insulin, researchers put 104 overweight and obese men and women on a low-calorie diet for eight weeks. At the end of the eight weeks, they measured levels of these three key hormones again – and a third time at the end of eight months.
What did they find? The men and women who had higher leptin levels and lower ghrelin levels before going on a low-calorie diet were more likely to experience weight regain after their weight loss. Researchers now propose that these appetite hormones could serve as biomarkers to show who’s at high risk for regaining weight after dieting.
What are Leptin and Ghrelin?
As you might have guessed, leptin and ghrelin play a role in appetite and how much a person eats. Leptin is produced by fat cells in the body, and people who are overweight have higher levels of leptin. What does it do? Leptin acts directly on the brain to reduce appetite and prevent overeating.
If people who are overweight have higher levels of leptin, why doesn’t it control their appetite? The theory is that some overweight and obese people are resistant to the effects of leptin and the hormone fails to turn off their appetite even when fat cells pump out large amounts of it.
Leptin helps to turn off the appetite, while another appetite hormone called ghrelin, produced by stomach cells, has the opposite effect – it turns on the desire to eat – by sending hunger messages to the brain.
If you give a person an injection of ghrelin, and let them to eat to their heart’s content, they’ll eat up to a third more than they normally would. Obviously, if you want to stay slim, you don’t want too much ghrelin out around in your bloodstream.
Regaining after Weight Loss: The Role of Leptin and Ghrelin
Researchers believe that measuring levels of the appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin would give a better idea of whether a dieter is at high risk for weight regain after losing weight. These appetite hormones could also explain why so many people have difficulty keeping the weight off once they lose it. Don’t underestimate the power of appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin. They have a lot of control over the desire to eat – without you even being aware of it.
Medical News Today. “Appetite Hormones May Predict Weight Regain after Dieting – Study Results May Point Way To Effective Weight-Loss Maintenance”