Our hormones determine our weight – here is how we program our hormone expression

Everyone keep talking about sugar cravings, character, falling off the wagon or plain “slow metabolism”. In reality we all have very similar genetic profile but how these genes are expressed vary. If you are a woman or a man affect 200 genes or so, while what you put in your body during breakfast affect several thousands of genes. You can affect how your genes are expressed.

The key to health is a body that is good at utilizing fat as its fuel. Sugar was only ever designed to be the backup system, for when we have to sprint quickly from a predator etc. (sugar metabolism function without presence of oxygen and therefor function when we need high bursts of energy). Sugar metabolism tear on the body and age/oxidize us faster, we are not designed for long term sugar burning and it is very damaging to our cells.
When the cells are programed to utilize sugar as its primary fuel they will hardly even turn to fat as a last resort. During periods without eating and sugar availability, like when you sleep/don’t eat, the cells will start digesting lean tissue and the protein matrix of your bones, leading to loss of muscle mass and osteoporosis. If they are instead programmed to utilize fat, fat reserves is what they will burn while you sleep, and most of the time. Fat will be converted into keton bodies which is a superior fuel, efficient to burn and does not damage our cells, but rather protects them (they are used to heal epileptic disorders and to treat Alzheimer’s etc).

Which fuel that your cells will utilize is decided by your hormone balance, this in turn is determined by what genes are expressed (also affected by what your parents and grand parents ate, “epigenetics“). Hence, what you eat determines what genes are turned on and off and what hormones in turn are produced, hence what fuel is utilized. It takes about 4 weeks to change the genetic expression with an altered diet.
A diet high in sugar and protein will produce elevated levels of insulin which in turn affects other hormones.
If you have type two diabetes or is pre diabetic you suffer from some level of insulin resistance. There is plenty of insulin to go around but the cells are not responding. You develop higher blood sugar levels and the pancreas struggle to produce even higher insulin levels. The body keeps storing sugar throughout the night, insulin lingers causing drops in blood sugar. By injecting your self with more insulin you with time increase the level of insulin resistance. When you lower blood sugar levels through a ketogenic diet, there is less sugar for the insulin to store. As mentioned there is plenty of insulin to go around in type two diabetes. In type one diabetes the pancreas is not making enough and thus the body can only handle very low levels of blood sugar.

The more fat stored the more of the hormone leptin is released, this is designed to alert the brain when we are full and when we have put on a weight. Though a diet high in sugar, bread or junk food will keep leptin elevated. When leptin levels are keep high for lengthly periods of time, the brain looses sensitivity to the hormone and can even start miss interpreting it. Leptin resistance sets in.
Normally you get full from two reasons; 1 because your belly is full, 2 because you are metabolically full. With leptin resistance the sense of feeling full/satisfied is deactivated. Leptin mainly reacts to fat.

For the body to properly utilize fat as its main fuel and start taping into its fat reserves, the hormone balance needs to be fine-tuned. As long as the insulin levels are elevated the fat cells are set on “storage-mood” (fat is not utilized) and the leptin which tend to follow your insulin levels will keep you eating. Causing overeating and weight gain.
To switch your metabolism to fat burn mood you need to exclude sugar and refined carbs such as bread, pasta, potato, rice, porridge, fruit juice, milk (high in sugar), etc. For the first 3 weeks indulge in fish and chicken, eggs (cholesterol good for membranes), olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil (recipe), omega3, above ground growing veggies and supplement with magnesium and potassium and eat extra mineral salt in general while you shed water-weight. After 3 weeks transition to incorporate also saturated fats such as butter, cream and red meat. The recommendation to initially focus somewhat on unsaturated shorter fatty acids is to help reestablish the flexibility of the cell membrane while restoring insulin sensitivity. Shorter and middle length fatty acids are easier to burn. Also the weight you are looking to shed will mainly consist of saturated fats, thus this macro nutrient will still be available to the cell metabolism.
Restoring your insulin and leptin sensitivity will do wonders for your willpower and capacity to stick to a diet, a low carb (moderate protein) diet will do this for you.

Though it is worth knowing that excess protein consumed also converts to sugar which in turn induce insulin production, which turns off fat metabolism. We on average need to consume roughly 1 g of total protein per kg of lean tissue body weight. So for woman performing average exercise per day need about 50g of complete protein (animal protein is complete protein), if you do more exercise you may need  up to 70 g per day. This is the amount of protein needed to maintain muscles and cells. Limiting protein content, excluding sugar and relying on saturated fats as fuel is linked to longevity and health. Fat is the macro nutrient that does not up regulate insulin and leptin and does not oxidize age us and does not cause heart disease.

To summarize, people with a genetic profile coding for high insulin levels will not burn fat as easily as others. As sugar is programed by their hormone profile to be their first choice of fuel they will tend to degrade lean mass, which brings further negative effects on metabolism levels. High insulin levels lead to high leptin levels making it very hard for them to notice when they are full. Over eating keeps their genetic profile on the same expression, producing very high levels of insulin etc. Both high sugar and high protein produces elevated insulin levels, in some individuals more then others.  Fat is a fuel that does not elevate these hormones, but it takes several weeks to balance this out.

Dr. Ron Rosedale talks about all this and much more in a podcast episode on the livin la vida low carb show.
To listen this this on-line click here and to down load this podcast to listen off line click here.

Btw. fat needs oxygen to process, thats why morning power walks (on an empty stomach) are so hyped for weight loss (high presence of oxygen for burning fat with lower presence of blood sugar to interfere). Also keep in in mind; both sugar (glucose and fructose) as well as high protein elevates insulin levels. You protein consumption over a day should be about 1 gram per kg lean body mass. Your lean mass can be estimated as roughly 10% less then your ideal weight. For the average (moderately active) woman 50g protein per day is sufficient.
Avoid all vegetable oils as these are high in omega 6 and all inflammatory. Focus on omega 3, fruit oil (olive, avocado oil), high fiber vegetables and avoid all grains, starch and sugar!!

leptin-and-insulin

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2 Responses to “Our hormones determine our weight – here is how we program our hormone expression”

  1. Björn Says:

    Va du kan syrran!
    Mycket intressant läsning , du skulle kanske börja fila på en bok där du syr ihop allt. kram på dig

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