11 Hormones for Weight Loss and How to Balance Them

science-backed article, fact-checked

Weight Loss | Hormones | Insulin | Glucagon | Ghrelin | Leptin | CCK | GLP-1 | PYY | NPY | Cortisol | Estrogen | Testosterone | Conclusion | FAQ | Studies

They regulate metabolism, appetite, and fat storage. Yet, hormones don’t even play a minor role in weight loss in the conventional fitness industry today.

intermittent fasting for beginners book

Here you will learn in simple terms why hormones play the leading role in weight loss and how your lifestyle can help you regulate them naturally.

Hormones and Weight Loss

If you put too many pounds on the scales, you eat too much and do not exercise enough. Surprisingly, this is still the general view on weight gain today.

But are we just too lazy? After all, people have never been so obsessed with living a healthy life as they are today.

Do we move too little on average today to lose weight, as most family doctors would have us believe?

Do billions of people voluntarily decide to overeat every day?

If people answer these questions with yes, they probably did their math without the hormones involved in weight loss.

Can Hormones Prevent Weight Loss?

Hormones are chemical messengers that give decisive signals for regulating hunger, satiety, thirst, body temperature, or even weight (Starka et al. 20201).

With the help of the hypothalamus, a control center in your brain, the hormone balance is significantly involved in keeping bodily functions in a healthy equilibrium.

This principle of homeostasis also applies to essential metabolic processes. Hence, it’s hard to lose weight once your hormones are out of balance.

Hormones decide whether you store energy or mobilize it, whether you are hungry or satiated, and how fat or muscle mass is distributed around the body.

It’s not due to mere lack of willpower that more than 75% of adults in the U.S. are already overweight or obese (CDC 20122).

If your hormonal balance is set incorrectly, you will not lose weight no matter how much you restrain yourself from eating or exercising several times a week.

Therefore, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig concludes that the obesity epidemic is due to a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one.

The hormonal system has the primary role in developing obesity, even though the cultural changes of the last half-century initiated it (Lustig 20013).

And this Western lifestyle has long ceased to be a purely American issue but rather a global one.

Why Calorie Counting Does Not Work

Hormones are the missing piece of why eating less and exercising more has not inevitably led to success.

Because of the varying impact of foods on hormone balance, a calorie is not always a calorie.

Hence, 99.5% of 99,791 overweight women and 76,704 overweight men could not lose weight successfully through a classic calorie deficit according to a British study (Fildes et al. 20154).

Our body is not a combustion engine that runs equally well on any fuel source, no matter how dirty. Instead, its life expectancy depends on the quality of food.

So why is calorie counting still the standard of the fitness industry?

Protein bars prevent weight loss through hormones

Because this allows industrially produced foods such as protein bars or vegan butter to sell first-class. Moreover, this fake food is shelf-stable almost forever.

The ongoing obesity pandemic is a composition of increasingly stressful lives and the industrialization of food.

Eating less and exercising more is not a good recipe against this toxic lifestyle. You may lose weight with it in the short term, but whether it is body fat that you are losing is determined by your hormones.

A study conducted on participants in the weight-loss TV series The Biggest Loser shows that people cannot lose weight sustainably with calorie reduction and exercise if hormones are left out of the equation.

Thus, the participants who lost the most weight through calorie restriction still suffered from an overwhelmingly reduced basal metabolic rate six years later (Fothergill et al. 20165).

Because of this yo-yo effect, conventional dieting does not work. The reason is the hormones involved in weight loss, first and foremost our fat-storage hormone.

When small meals constantly stimulate insulin, you can’t break down body fat, and the body burns lean mass instead. Let’s have a look at how this hormone works.

11 Hormones Affecting Weight Loss and How to Balance Them

Here are the 11 most important hormones that can help you lose weight. I’ve derived simple, science-backed tips helping you get these hormones back in check.

1. Insulin

The most important hormone when it comes to weight loss is insulin. Most people have heard of insulin and immediately associate it with diabetes.

That’s because regulating blood glucose levels is a crucial job of this hormone. After an excess of sugar molecules in the blood is harmful, the body strives to control the amount of sugar (glucose).

The fastest way to rid the blood of glucose is to transport it into the cells, where they are used as energy or stored as fat.

And it is precisely this regulation of glucose amount in the blood that insulin is responsible for at any given time.

Accordingly, insulin plays an essential role in supplying energy to cells. On the other hand, it is also our primary storage hormone.

Finally, insulin also signals fat cells to take up excess energy.

In addition, the fat-storage hormone has a so-called antilipolytic effect (Jensen et al. 19896).

Hence, it prevents fat breakdown by enzymes (lipolysis) and, in return, promotes fat build-up (Meijssen et al. 20017).

In short, high insulin levels prevent fat burning.

Since insulin’s role is to regulate blood glucose, it is only legitimate that its presence blocks energy use from fat stores.

Accordingly, when you supply an adequate amount of glucose by eating carbohydrates, insulin does a first-rate job of consuming that energy.

However, if too much glucose enters the bloodstream due to high carbohydrate consumption, insulin ensures that the excess energy is stored in fat cells (Muretta et al. 20098).

How to Lower Insulin Levels

Low-Carb: The main trigger for insulin production is a high blood glucose level. Therefore, reducing carbohydrates in the diet is the most obvious way to keep insulin levels low (Gower et al. 20159).

Fructose: A randomized controlled trial from Switzerland shows that even small amounts of the sweet molecule in sugar cause insulin resistance and fat production in the liver of healthy young men (Aeberli et la. 201310).

Healthy fats: Unlike carbohydrates and proteins, healthy fats do not significantly increase insulin levels (Nuttall et al. 199111). In addition, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin sensitivity. As a result, blood glucose can be broken down more efficiently (Ramel et al. 200812). Therefore, a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet such as the keto diet is ideal for lowering insulin levels.

Fasting: The most effective way to lower insulin levels is to refrain from food intake for some time strictly. In addition, intermittent fasting can burn visceral (organ) fat even more effectively than low-carb diets (Catenacci et al. 201613).

Exercise: Last but not least, physical activity helps lower blood glucose. Exercise helps improve insulin action and thus glucose consumption (Richter et al. 201314). When blood glucose levels drop, insulin levels can also recover.

Insulin is a hormone that stores sugar as fat

2. Glucagon

In the context of blood glucose, there exists another player besides insulin that you need to get to know. In short, glucagon is the antagonist of insulin.

While insulin is released by increasing blood sugar, your body releases glucagon when the blood sugar gets too low.

Therefore, glucagon pursues the same goal as insulin: it wants to keep blood sugar in balance. Both hormones thus target what is known as blood glucose homeostasis.

Consequently, it is hardly surprising that glucagon is also produced in the pancreas. In contrast to insulin, secretion occurs through alpha instead of beta cells.

Unlike insulin, which lowers a high blood glucose level, glucagon raises a low blood glucose level (Keller et al. 198315).

For this purpose, two mechanisms exist in the body:

  • On the one hand, glucagon can stimulate the liver to break down glucose from carbohydrate stores (glycogen).
  • On the other hand, glucagon can signal fat cells to release stored fat.

In summary, glucagon is a hormone that mobilizes stored energy and stimulates sugar and fat burning. On the other hand, its counterpart, insulin, stores energy, and blocks fat burning.

How to Increase Glucagon

Fasting: While insulin levels decreased, in one study, glucagon levels doubled on the third day of fasting and slowly fell over the following six weeks, always remaining above baseline (Marliss et al. 197016).

Low-carb: While high-carbohydrate foods elevate insulin levels, a low-carbohydrate diet can lower them and boost glucagon release.

Protein: Both animal and plant protein sources have been shown to boost glucagon production and lower the ratio of insulin to glucagon (Claessens et al. 200817).

3. Ghrelin

After the hormone that stores energy in your body and its counterpart, we now turn to the one that initiates energy intake.

Consequently, ghrelin is better known as the hunger hormone. Moreover, ghrelin is the only messenger outside the central nervous system that triggers appetite.

The body releases ghrelin in response to an empty stomach to tell you to eat again in a short time (Klok et al. 200718).

For this reason, also the reward center in the brain is stimulated to make food more interesting to you (Müller et al. 201519).

After a meal, on the other hand, ghrelin levels are low. After the stomach is full, there is no more purpose for food intake.

Studies show that ghrelin levels do not always decrease as they should after a meal in overweight people. Because they continue to feel hungry, these people risk overeating (Klok et al. 200720).

Consequently, dysfunction of ghrelin balance can lead to weight gain. Conversely, ghrelin production must be functioning for you to lose weight.

How to Regulate Your Ghrelin Balance

Protein: according to an Oxford study that compared eating a high-protein meal with a high-carbohydrate meal, protein consumption can significantly lower ghrelin levels in the body (Blom et al. 200621).

Fructose: The fruit sugar is often marketed as healthy, which it is not. Fructose is the sweet molecule besides glucose in conventional sugar. Metabolic researchers have found that diets high in fructose can increase ghrelin levels and cause obesity (Teff et al. 200422).

Medication: Although ghrelin makes you hungry, you should not consider taking ghrelin blockers. Ghrelin is also crucial for learning, memory, gastric acid secretion, sleep-wake rhythm, or reward behavior and should not be artificially affected (Müller et al. 201523).

Fructose is found in donuts and apples and prevents weight loss via hormones

4. Leptin

Leptin is the counterpart of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Accordingly, it is also known as the satiety hormone.

Like insulin and glucagon, which regulate their build-up and breakdown, leptin also has to do with fat cells.

However, in the case of leptin, it is the fat cells that secret the hormone and help you lose weight.

When you eat, and your fat cells determine that enough energy has been supplied, they release leptin as a signal to your brain to stop eating.

If your leptin levels are low, on the other hand, your brain receives the message that fat stores are empty, which in turn triggers feelings of hunger (Friedman et al. 199824).

Consequently, leptin is responsible for regulating the total amount of stored energy in the body.

When signaling to regulate body fat ceases to function correctly, the condition is leptin resistance.

In essence, leptin resistance develops similarly to insulin resistance, which is why these metabolic disorders often occur together (Martin et al. 200825).

Dr. Robert Lustig further concludes hyperinsulinemia is the indirect cause of leptin resistance (Lustig et al. 200426).

When the body is constantly flooded with vast hormone amounts, sensitivity to the hormonal signal decreases.

In short, with leptin resistance, your brain takes longer to realize that you are already full.

The result can be overeating, weight gain, obesity, and other metabolic disorders (Myers et al. 201027).

The more you eat the wrong foods, the worse leptin resistance (and insulin resistance) can become.

So here are the most effective tips to achieve healthy leptin levels.

How to Regulate Your Leptin Balance

Low-carb: Carbohydrates – especially refined carbohydrates like sugar – can turn off leptin receptors in the brain, so you need longer or higher levels of leptin to feel full (Shapiro et al. 200828).

Healthy fats: In contrast to the excessive consumption of carbohydrates, studies have shown that fat does not lead to leptin resistance (Dirlewanger et al. 200029). Since fat increases satiety but not insulin levels, a low-carb, high-fat diet such as the keto diet is ideal for weight loss.

Fructose: Fructose is not only a liver toxin like alcohol but also more dangerous than other carbohydrates in developing leptin resistance and obesity (Shapiro et al. 200830). Therefore, it is advisable to avoid high-fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, and large amounts of fruit sugar in general.

Sleep: If you’ve ever heard that sleep is essential for losing weight, here comes the scientific confirmation. Researchers have shown that shorter sleep results in lower levels of the satiety hormone in the body (Spiegel et al. 200431).

Exercise: Although the effect of exercise on weight loss tends to be overestimated, it can help increase leptin sensitivity (and insulin sensitivity) and thereby increase the perception of satiety (Kang et al. 201332).

5. Cholecystokinin (CCK)

The next in a series of satiety hormones is cholecystokinin (CCK). It is secreted by cells in the intestine in response to a meal.

CCK is the first gut hormone known to affect appetite (Gibbs et al. 197333). In this regard, it is closely related to the primary satiety hormone leptin.

On the one hand, CCK promotes leptin secretion (Konturek et al. 200134). On the other hand, leptin enhances CCK-induced satiety (Peters et al. 200635).

An elevated level of CCK can be detected in the human body approximately 15 minutes after eating (Liddle et al. 198536)

In addition to satiety, cholecystokinin also plays an essential role in the following processes in the body (Okonkwo et al. 202137):

  • Inhibition of gastric acid secretion and release of digestive enzymes
  • Contraction of the gallbladder and regulation of bile acid
  • Regulation of gastric emptying
  • Energy production, protein synthesis, and cell growth

Our bodies produce CCK when we consume protein or fat (Dockray et al. 201238). As a result, food intake and, in particular, our cravings for sugar and carbohydrates are reduced (Lieverse et al. 199539).

Recent research suggests that obese people develop a type of CCK resistance. Reduced sensitivity to the hormone makes them more likely to overeat, which may contribute to the progression of CCK resistance (Cawthon et al. 202140).

How to Promote Satiety Through Healthy CCK Levels

Healthy fats: Consuming natural fats in the form of pastured butter, extra virgin olive oil, or fattier cuts of meat supports CCK production, keeping you fuller longer (Dockray et al. 201241).

Protein: One study found that a high-protein diet, as opposed to a high-carbohydrate diet, can help increase CCK levels and thus satiety (Chungchunlam et al. 201542).

Exercise: Although research is severely limited, there is evidence that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or the combination of aerobic and strength training may increase CCK levels (Zouhal et al. 201943).

Protein satiates and helps hormones lose weight

6. Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1).

The incretin and satiety hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is also secreted in the gut in response to nutrient absorption.

Its main functions are to keep blood glucose levels stable and produce a feeling of satiety (Müller et al. 201944).

This hormone could also help weight loss reduce body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in overweight adults (Zhang et al. 201545).

Moreover, researchers explain the reduced hunger and increased satiety after gastric bypass surgery by an increased GLP-1 response to food intake (Morinigo et al. 200646).

The beneficial effects of GLP-1 make this hormone an exciting candidate for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases (Müller et al. 201947).

Research suggests that people with obesity may experience problems with GLP-1 signaling (Anandhakrishnan et al. 201648).

As with the other hormones for weight loss, this suggests a possible type of GLP-1 resistance. This decreasing GLP-1 sensitivity may also explain the elevated fasted plasma GLP-1 levels in obese children and adults (Stinson et al. 202149).

How to Balance GLP-1 Levels Naturally

Healthy fats: In numerous studies in humans and animals, the monounsaturated fatty acids from virgin olive oil were able to increase both GLP-1 levels and insulin sensitivity (Bodnaruc et al. 201650). This combined hormone effect is ideal for weight loss.

Protein: Protein-rich foods increase GLP-1 levels (Gillespie et al. 201551). In particular, collagen, the essential protein for skin, hair, bones, and joints, has increased satiety via GLP-1 (Rubio et al. 200852).

Inflammation: Eat more anti-inflammatory foods and avoid consuming pro-inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates and industrial seed oils. Inflammation, which often accompanies obesity, inhibits the release of GLP-1 in the body (Gagnon et al. 201553).

7. Peptide YY (PYY)

Along with GLP-1, peptide YY (PYY) is produced in the gut after eating. Here, the amount secreted is proportional to the fat ingested with food (Pironi et al. 199354).

It enters the hypothalamus in the brain via the bloodstream, reducing appetite (Wu et al. 201955).

According to studies, individuals with obesity exhibited attenuated peptide YY responses after eating, leading to uncontrolled overeating (Zwirska-Korczala et al. 200756).

Therefore, adequate levels are thought to play an essential role in reducing increased food intake, especially after extensive exercise (Zouhal et al. 201957).

In addition, researchers at Oxford have found that obese individuals do not have elevated fasting PYY levels, but chronic overeating does.

Hence, this again suggests a protective mechanism against excessive food intake and other weight loss hormones (Cahill et al. 201158).

How to Promote a Vital PYY Response

Protein: According to studies, high-protein meals initiate the most significant increase in PYY, followed by high-fat meals (Lomenick et al. 200959).

Low-carb: Not only do high-carbohydrate meals stimulate PYY the least, but PYY levels decrease more rapidly after high-carbohydrate meals, whereas PYY continues to rise for hours after high-fat and high-protein meals (Lomenick et al. 200960). That could be one reason for not staying full for long after a high-carbohydrate meal.

Healthy fats: PYY release increases proportionally with the number of fatty acids ingested with food (Pironi et al. 199361). Therefore, a ketogenic diet rich in healthy fats is also promising regarding PYY balance.

Exercise: According to studies, training has limited positive effects on PYY production. While individuals with average weight can increase their PYY levels with exercise, overweight individuals achieved this result only with long-term training for at least 32 weeks (Jones et al. 200962).

Processed organic products also fuel cravings

8. Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

Neuropeptide Y or NPY is the most abundant peptide in the central nervous system. It is primarily found in the brain (hypothalamus) and is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter.

NPY and PYY are important brain-gut peptides. Therefore, their actions are closely related to appetite regulation and the development of obesity (Wu et al. 201963).

Moreover, NPY is considered the most potent appetite-stimulating compound in the human body.

Every other hunger or satiety hormone regulates food intake by acting on NPY in the hypothalamus. While leptin suppresses NPY activity, ghrelin stimulates it.

Accordingly, elevated NPY increases food cravings, predominantly carbohydrates (Beck 200664).

In addition to hunger, NPY stimulates fat storage and weight gain via the central nervous system while decreasing sex drive, locomotion, energy expenditure, and body temperature (Minor et al. 200965).

In addition, stress leads to increased NPY levels in fat cells, which contributes to abdominal fat storage in particular (Kuo et al. 200766).

However, elevated NPY levels make sense as a stress response because NPY has stress-reducing, anxiety-relieving, and neuroprotective properties, according to researchers at the University of Graz, Austria (Reichmann et al. 201667).

You may have also heard that researchers have found that a wide variety of living things can live at least 33% longer if they eat less (McDonald et al. 201068).

Because NPY acts as the primary hunger signal in this context, researchers now suspect it plays an essential role in extending lifespan (Minor et al. 200969).

How to Curb Cravings Through NPY

Healthy fats: Although NPY makes you hungrier for carbohydrates, eating fats more strongly inhibits NPY activity, reducing this appetite more effectively (Beck 200670).

Proteins: Researchers at Oxford found in animal studies that reducing protein in the diet caused a more significant release of NPY and more body fat (White et al. 199471).

Exercise: Recent studies suggest that NPY balance cannot be affected by intense training to the extent that weight loss may result (Khajehnasiri et al. 201972Benite-Ribeiro et al. 201673). Therefore, the effects of exercise on this hormone for weight loss are again minimal.

9. Cortisol

The adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to stress. Accordingly, cortisol is considered a stress hormone.

Cortisol is essential to prepare the body for fight or flight.

Therefore, the standard repertoire of physiological responses to stressful situations that cortisol initiates is called the fight-or-flight response.

After cortisol is released, it immediately increases blood sugar. For this reason, stress can trigger cravings for sweets  (Epel et al. 200174).

The mobilized energy aims to strengthen muscles and eventually escape the stressor and survive (Owen et. al 197375).

This response to acute stress was essential for survival during evolution. However, with chronic stress, cortisol can have instead harmful effects.

Due to psychological stress, blood glucose levels can remain high for months, stimulating insulin release. Accordingly, studies show that persistently high cortisol levels lead to significantly elevated insulin levels (Whitworth et al. 199476).

And the storage hormone is known to be a primary contributor to obesity. Thus, psychological stress increases body mass index and abdominal fat in the long run (Rosmond et al. 199877).

In addition, researchers have found that an enzyme that can reactivate inactive cortisol (cortisone) is increased in the abdominal fat of obese individuals (Ayachi et al. 200678).

As a result of cortisol reactivation, BMI, obesity around the middle, and associated disease risks increase (Rask et al 200279).

If you can keep stress responses in check, cortisol balance will be as well. However, this is not an easy procedure in everyday life. Ultimately, you cannot avoid all the stress factors.

Therefore, specific methods have evolved to help manage stress better.

How to Lower Cortisol Levels

Sleep: Deep, healthy sleep for just one or two nights can better affect cortisol levels than months of stress management seminars. One night without sleep is enough to double your cortisol levels (Joo et al. 201280).

Exercise: Movement can improve the whole body’s response to stress in the long run. Because it can lower cortisol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar, yoga is an effective stress reduction exercise (Pascoe et al. 201781).

Meditation: In addition to yoga, meditation is another mindfulness-based stress management strategy that can benefit severely stressed individuals in particular (Klimes-Dougan et al. 201982).

Exercise helps to reduce stress hormone levels

10. Estrogen

Estrogen is the primary sex hormone in women. Nevertheless, estrogen is also naturally present in male bodies, but not in high amounts.

In addition to its primary function in reproduction in the female body and regulating sex drive in both sexes, the hormone also plays a role in fat distribution.

However, the reduction of estrogen levels does not lead to weight loss. Menopausal women gain abdominal fat despite lower estrogen levels (Lovejoy 199883).

For this reason, estrogen levels are a sensitive issue. They must be regulated carefully since neither too high nor too low levels will help you lose weight.

In addition to hormonal changes during the life cycle, lifestyle factors can also help keep estrogen levels balanced.

How to Balance Estrogen Levels Naturally:

Low-Carb: Our high-carbohydrate Western diet drives up insulin levels, which lowers sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), another hormone (Daka et al. 201384). SHBG binds estrogen in the blood, keeping it in balance.

Sports: The right balance is also crucial when exercising. Too much exercise can cause a drop in estrogen, leading to the absence of the menstrual cycle. On the other hand, appropriate exercise can lower elevated estrogen levels enough to have a positive effect on women at risk for breast cancer (Kossman et al. 201185).

Personal care: Many personal care products contain xenoestrogens, chemicals that can mimic estrogen in your body. They can bind to estrogen receptors and activate them, upsetting the hormonal system (Singleton et al. 200386).

Plastic: Chemicals in plastic containers have estrogen-like effects on the body. Therefore, it is vital to avoid plastic to keep your estrogen levels in check (Yang et al. 201187).

11. Testosterone

Many think that estrogen and testosterone are mortal enemies, constantly waging a fierce hormone war.

Some women even fear that weight training and eating meat could cause increased testosterone levels and result in an overly masculine appearance.

On the other hand, few people know that testosterone also performs essential tasks in the female body. For example, testosterone is instrumental in estrogen production, which is why a deficiency affects it.

Consequently, a certain hormonal balance of testosterone is essential for both men and women, even if it does not occur to the same extent in the different sexes.

A healthy testosterone level positively contributes significantly to the following aspects of the human body (Tyagi et al. 201788):

  • Mood
  • Libido
  • Muscle mass
  • Bone density
  • Body fat distribution

Accordingly, testosterone is a hormone that plays an essential role in weight loss. Therefore, it is also referred to as a fat-reducing hormone (De Pergola 200089).

However, compared to women, the consequences of impaired testosterone balance can be more severe in men.

Therefore, researchers even conclude that an increase in the hormone in men results in the loss of abdominal fat (Rebuffe-Scrive et al. 199190).

If testosterone levels drop significantly in men, the balance to estrogen is compromised. As a result, fatty tissue may grow on the chest (Swerdloff et al. 201991).

How to Balance Testosterone Levels Naturally

Fasting: A study of 42 men found a significant increase in testosterone levels and reduction in body fat after only eight weeks of 16/8 intermittent fasting (Moro et al. 201692).

Low-Carb: A high-carbohydrate diet decreases insulin sensitivity and testosterone release (Pitteloud et al. 200593). Simple glucose consumption lowers testosterone levels in men by about 25% over several hours (Caronia et al. 201394).

Fructose: Fructose (e.g., from sugar, smoothies, juices) is converted to fat by the liver, which lowers sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood, which keeps testosterone (and estrogen) at healthy levels (CFRI 200795).

Exercise: While intense endurance training lowers testosterone levels, weight training helps increase them significantly (Anderson et al. 201696Timon Andrada et al. 200797).

Sleep: Even a single week of inadequate sleep (less than 5 hours) can decrease testosterone production by more than 10% (Leproult et al. 201198).

Avocados stimulate satiety hormones and help weight loss

Balancing Hormones for Weight Loss Through Diet

Hormones are the key to sustainable weight loss. Fortunately, simple lifestyle can balance them naturally.

For example, intermittent fasting combined with low-carb is the most effective to minimize fat storage and maximize fat burning (Catenacci et al. 201699).

You can learn step-by-step how this works in my new book: Intermittent Fasting 101: The Science-Backed Beginner’s Guide to Lose Weight Without Dieting and Working Out.

On the other hand, healthy fats and proteins help your hormones stimulate satiety and curb appetite in the long term (Lomenick et al. 2009100).

However, you should avoid one substance, in particular, because it fuels cravings. We are talking about fructose, the supposedly healthy fruit sugar.

Fructose is not only the sweet molecule in table sugar but also a liver toxin like alcohol, causing the same adverse health effects (Lustig 2013101).

Because fructose promotes leptin and insulin resistance, it sets in motion a vicious cycle that ultimately paves the way to type 2 diabetes via fatty liver (Tappy and Lê 2010102).

In short, fructose makes obese individuals feel like they are starving while carrying hundreds of thousands of calories of energy reserves.

While training can positively impact some hormonal balances, compensatory appetite often overshadows these benefits (Zouhal et al. 2019103).

Thus, exercise is not the Swiss Army knife of weight loss marketed to us.

Last but not least, lack of sleep and psychological stress are other lifestyle factors that can prevent (abdominal) weight loss via hormones (Rosmond et al. 1998104).

In summary, a ketogenic diet low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats is ideal for setting hormone balance up for fat burning and satiety (Nuttall et al. 2016105).

The pleasant side effect is preventing modern diseases such as diabetes and cancer (Orgel et al. 2014106).

Hormones for Weight Loss FAQ

Which hormone helps you lose weight?

The most critical hormones in weight loss are insulin and leptin. While leptin helps you lose weight by promoting satiety, insulin promotes fat storage instead.

How do I balance my hormones to lose weight?

You can best balance hormones naturally for weight loss through intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet.

What hormones can cause weight loss?

Storage, satiety, stress, and sex hormones affect weight loss. While leptin, glucagon, CCK, and peptide YY support weight loss, insulin, ghrelin, and neuropeptide Y can prevent weight loss.

What are the 6 fat burning hormones?

Insulin, leptin, ghrelin, glucagon, cortisol, and cholecystokinin are the six critical hormones involved in fat burning. While leptin, glucagon, and CCK help burn fat, insulin, ghrelin, and cortisol prevent weight loss.

Studies click to expand!

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