Ghrelin makes you fat, leptin makes you skinny.
Not quite that simple. So back to homo (we met him when we talked about cortisol). He wakes up with the sun, stretches, scratches his butt, probably a couple of other things then sniffs it. Boys will be boys.
He looks around for a bit and then decides that there’s something going on in his belly, it’s growling and he knows what that means it’s time to start foraging, put some food in there to shut it up.
It takes him a while he can’t find anything and now he’s starting to feel emotional. He reaches over and smacks young homo in the head for no reason whatsoever.
Young homo screams back at him and says a mixture of you hit me and why are you so angry and it came out hangry. Believe it or not that’s how the word was invented.
The stomach is a cheeky little monkey when it comes to being empty. It secretes the ghrelin, makes you hungry, makes you angry, and bugs the hell out of you until you eat.
There’s no supplement, there’s no injection or powder, that really works to calm it down. It’s all retraining and willpower. Trivia, ghrelin is rooted in the word grow. That’s actually true.
Ghrelin in and of itself does not make you fat. For lack of better terminology we all have a kind of predetermined weight related to DNA, genetics, hormones, etc. But guess what ghrelin does have a relationship with… Did you guess insulin? Insulin has it’s dirty little fingers in everything. Insulin is the cranberries of the hormone world. Ever notice how cranberry juice is trying to get into all the other juices. What you got there grapes, how about cran-grape let’s split it fifty-fifty, apples, cran-apple, kiwi let’s put it together and call it cran-wiwi. I digress.
To maintain current weight just eat as you normally do and you’ll stay at whatever weight you are. If you reduce calories to lose weight ghrelin will increase to attempt to maintain current weight. If you eat a little too much then the leptin will increase to try to make you maintain current weight.
And here’s where the problem comes in. If you continuously eat too much then you will become what is called leptin resistant. It doesn’t mean leptin is not there, because leptin is found in the adipose tissue, the fat. It’s certainly there but just like diabetes type 2 causes insulin resistance where insulin doesn’t work as well as it once did eating too much and gaining weight causes leptin resistance.
Why can’t we just become ghrelin resistant then dammit, wait can we not? I submit that we can. Since I have been doing intermittent fasting for over a year and a half I have found that as long as I stick to a 20 x 4, I barely even notice any hunger before my feeding window sometimes I’m not even hungry at my feeding window.
When I take a break over the weekend and eat three meals a day, by Monday I’ll knock down two toddlers in a chimpanzee just to steal their Cheerios and a banana.
Just keep in mind that ghrelin is hunger and hunger is only fat crying as it burns.