1.)How do ghrelin and leptin operate (independently and together)? 

Ghrelin is a peptide hormone produced in the stomach, it stimulates the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland resulting in increased appetite.  These hormone levels increase when you diet.  Leptin is a protein produced by fatty tissue and believed to regulate fat storage in the body and decrease hunger.  They work both individually in different areas of the body but they also work simultaneously in regards to the body holding onto fat.

2) Does insulin play a role? Yes, if insulin levels are fluctuating they will cause weight gain, which will increase body fat levels and that results in ghrelin increasing hunger levels.  This will result in intense ravings for high carbohydrate foods like sweets or breads resulting in weight gain.

3) How does a bad night’s sleep affect ghrelin? The University of Chicago conducted a study that compared two different groups of people, those who had only 4 hours of sleep and those who had 10 hours of sleep, the ones who were sleep deprived experienced 18 percent lower leptin levels and ghrelin levels were 28 percent higher, resulting in increased hunger, specifically for salty and sweet foods.

4) Do different foods change how hungry we feel later? Foods that contain processed sugar, syrups or white flour will set you up for failure.  These foods result in slow metabolism and increased cravings, instead eat high fiber foods like vegetables, heart healthy fats from nuts, seeds and oils and quality proteins from seafood, eggs, poultry, meat, etc.

5) Can you work up an appetite? Why do some activities make us hungrier than others?

There is inconclusive research on this, some exercise experts have stated that excessive cardiovascular activities (running, cycling, etc.) can increase cravings especially if there is inflammation present in the body.  A balanced fitness regimen consisting of cardiovascular activity in the form of interval training has proved to be the most effective in weight loss and hormone balance.  Strength training exercises and flexibility training in the form of stretching, yoga, and/or Pilates are also very good for your health and helpful for weightloss.

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