How Sustaining Weight Loss Can Tame Your Hunger Hormones

by | Sep 21, 2023 | Weight-Loss

Losing weight can often feel like an uphill battle, especially when hunger pangs persist. However, recent research from Denmark provides hope, suggesting that if you can maintain your weight loss for a year, those persistent cravings may subside.

The Initial Hormonal Surge

In this study, scientists closely monitored hormone levels in a group of 20 individuals who embarked on an ultra-low-kilojoule diet for two months. Resulting in an average weight loss of 13 percent of their initial body weight. After this initial phase, the participants transitioned to a more sustainable maintenance diet for a year. Successfully maintaining their weight loss.

Ghrelin: The Hunger Hormone

What caught the researchers’ attention was the hormone ghrelin, known for its role in triggering hunger, which spiked by 23 percent when the subjects initially shed their kilos. This hormonal surge posed an additional challenge to those already grappling with weight loss. It appears that your body, driven by its survival instincts, increases hunger signals in response to the lost weight.

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Gradual Adaptation: A Year of Sustained Weight Loss

However, over the course of the following year, the participants’ ghrelin levels gradually dropped by 7 percent. This suggests that the body gradually adapts to its new weight, gradually reducing the production of this hunger hormone.

Satiety Hormones: GLP-1 and PYY3-36

Furthermore, the study revealed a positive trend regarding two satiety hormones, GLP-1 and PYY3-36, which increased steadily throughout the year following the initial weight loss. It is postulated that excess body fat might hinder the production of these satiety hormones, so shedding and sustaining weight loss could potentially restore hormone levels to normal.

Unlocking the Path to Sustainable Weight Maintenance

In essence, these findings propose that if you can maintain your desired weight for a year, you may experience a reduction in daily hunger, making it easier to sustain your weight over time, as explained by Dr. Signe Sørensen Torekov, one of the study’s co-authors.

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Implications for a Broader Population

Although the study involved a small sample size, Torekov believes that the results may be applicable to a broader population, especially for those who have lost a similar amount of weight. The research offers hope to individuals navigating the challenging path of weight loss, suggesting that with perseverance and long-term maintenance, the body’s hunger signals may eventually become more manageable.

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