Five Hunger Hormones

Hormones work together to balance proper body function. You can control weight loss, weight gain, energy levels and fatigue by having a simple insight into how hunger hormones work. This article dives into five hunger hormones found in the pancreas, gut, fat cells, adrenal glands, and brain.

Here are five main peptides and protein hormones that control hunger and eating.

  1. Ghrelin (hunger hormone)
  2. Estrogen
  3. Cortisol
  4. Insulin
  5. Leptin

Loving and accepting our body is an essential part of personal wellness. Monitoring our hormones, especially if we carry more weight for our body frame, is critical to balanced body function.

hunger harmons
hunger harmons

Ghrelin (pronounced: grel in)

Ghrelin is best known as the ‘hunger hormone’.

Ghrelin is a stomach hormone released into the gut and bloodstream, sending a signal to the pituitary gland, part of the brain’s limbic system telling you it’s time to eat.

Obese and overweight people release more ghrelin telling the body to eat more regularly. Reducing body weight is essential in regulating the amount of ghrelin released into your system.

Controlling Ghrelin Levels

As dull as it might sound, eating a balanced diet will keep this hormone balanced and correctly active.

  • Reduce all sugar intake (read the labels on packages and avoid fructose corn syrup, sugars and dense carbs
  • Eat some protein with each meal (sprinkle a plant-based protein powder in a shake or on cereal
  • Increasing fibre will assist. Try Psyllium seed husk as a supplement in the mornings in a shake or sprinkled on cereal.
  • Eat more healthy fats like avocado, chia seen, fish and almonds and walnuts.

Body Detox and FastingĀ 

Reducing body weight is essential. Innovative fasting programs like the one at New Leaf Wellness Resort in Thailand and others around the world can significantly assist in resetting your ghrelin hormone. The New Leaf Fasting method offers a balanced, low calorie, highly nutrient-dense diet with natural proteins.

Growth Hormone (GH)

Men can release more growth hormones triggered by ghrelin when fasting. Balancing this with a small amount of protein will give a sense of fullness and reduce the ghrelin, decreasing appetite.


Reduce all types of sugars except natural fruit. Increase protein in each meal with more fibre and natural fats like almonds, walnuts and avocado. Supplement if needed.


Estrogen is a vital female sex hormone produced by the ovaries and small amounts by the brain, heart, liver and adrenal gland.

Incorrect estrogen levels cause many women’s weight gain and loss issues. Estrogen changes the body’s relationship with fat during menopause and increases visceral fat around the stomach, decreasing it from thighs and hips. During productive years estrogen maintains fertility. It can also promote fat storage during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Balancing Estrogen

Eating these foods will significantly assist in estrogen balance helping in weight loss, and correct fluid retention:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Cauliflower


Reduce fatty foods and sugar. Eat more leafy green vegetables and supplement when needed.

Get regular checkups to check your estrogen balance.

Cortisol (stress eating hormone)

Commonly referred to as the ‘stress hormone’, we add ‘eating’ to the subtitle calling it the ‘stress eating hormone as it can cause overeating and weight gain. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone that increases blood pressure, heart rate, and survival.

The adrenal gland above the kidneys produces cortisol. Cortisol works with the brain to control mood, motivation, fear and excitement.

Cortisol is a hormone getting a lot of press for a decade and plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing.

The cortisol connection to weight gain comes from increased blood sugar. The sugar is processed into fat excess body fat occurs. Overstressed and long-term stress can cause the body to over product cortisol, leading to Cushing syndrome. Cushing’s can produce rapid weight gain and develop into diabetes.

When the body produces too little cortisol, this can lead to another disease, Addison’s. Addison’s has the reverse effect of cushing’s, where your body becomes weak and exhausted with changes in skin texture, loss of appetite and weight.

Managing Cortisol

Reducing stress is the key to having a balanced amount of cortisol. Avoid heavy dieting and overly stressful situations.

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Schedule time to relax with music or a book
  • Learn simple meditation
  • Eat all meals at the correct times of the day


It’s hard to avoid all stress, but it is essential to relax. Scheduling time to relax and unwind is critical to prevent spiking this hormone.


The beta cells of the pancreas produce Insulin. Insulin is the king of fat. Most know it as blood sugar regulation, and it does that too. However, it decides where the blood sugar is distributed in the body, whether it stores the fat or breaks it down.

Insulin is most active after a meal. Insulin resistance and increased insulin levels are significant issues today through overeating and eating the wrong foods.

Hyperinsulinemia, highly elevated insulin levels, causes many weight-related diseases such as metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Controlling Insulin Levels

  • Avoid Overeating
  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates
  • Eat more natural healthy fats (avocados, nuts)
  • Supplement with Magnesium (ask your doctor)
  • Regular light exercise


The lower the insulin levels, the easier your body will regulate weight, energy and blood pressure.


Leptin is a fat hormone and works with Insulin to regulate fat storage. Leptin’s role is to inform the brain when enough fat is stored and not to produce it. Obsessive overeating causes Leptin resistance.

Obese people have four times the Leptin driving resistance and weight gain. The resistance fails to tell the brain to stop eating, and the obese person can’t stop eating.

Controlling Leptin

A lot of people regain weight after weight loss is an imbalance of hormones and leptin. The imbalance tells the brain the body is starving, and insatiable hunger ensures causing weight gain.

Eat more natural good fats and anti-inflammatory foods and additives:

  • Tumeric
  • Fatty fish
  • Omega 3
  • Green Tea
  • Peppers
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Get plenty of sleep.


Body inflammation can cause many health issues, including cancers. It is essential to eat good fats and fresh vegetables.

Healthy Hormones

The body is a highly complex system. Everything is connected and works in harmony with each other. Aiming for balance must be our primary health goal. Focusing on weight loss or other specific issues needs to be secondary. Other related health issues balance too by taking care of our hormonal balance.

If you need any more information or advice, we are highly experienced nutritionists, detox specialists and fitness experts, and you can contact us anytime at New Leaf Wellness Resort, Thailand.

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