We chock a lot of things up to our pesky hormones: a disgruntled mood, hot flashes, sex drive, that huge pimple that appeared at the most inopportune time and so on. It’s true that hormones, which send chemical messages between tissues, play a complex array of roles in our bodies. And sometimes, when things go awry, it is indeed hormones that are to blame. Now, research indicates that hormones may be implicated in our struggle with yo-yo dieting.
Three hormones–leptin, ghrelin and insulin–have been identified as having roles in appetite and satiety. The study found that people who regained weight tended to have higher levels of leptin and lower levels of grhelin than people who kept the weight off; there was no difference in insulin levels. These results are somewhat counterintuitive as leptin suppresses hunger and grhelin induces hunger. The results are however in agreement with similar studies, suggesting that there is some sort of disruption in how these hormones function in people who lose and then regain weight. The study did not clarify whether leptin and grhelin are implicated in the weight regain or simply a marker of those more likely to regain weight.
The most important lesson to take from this study is that regardless of hormones, “diets” are just a temporary fix. To lose weight and keep it off long term, only long-term lifestyle changes will do the trick. Eat a balanced, varied diet and exercise regularly for a happy and healthy body (and one less thing to blame on your poor hormones).