Hormones are a chemical substance produced in the body or in a plant that encourages growth or influences how the cells and tissues function (1). They facilitate nearly every bodily process, including metabolism, hunger, and fullness.

There are a few key hormones that may affect your hunger and your weight. Today I am going to talk about one which I’m sure you have all heard of but may not truly understand its function….

Insulin and Weight

Insulin is ​a chemical substance produced by the pancreas and its sole purpose is to stash excess glucose in storage units throughout the body, to keep it out of the bloodstream. It is important for glucose not to stay in the bloodstream for too long as this is dangerous for the body. Without insulin we would die; people without the ability to produce insulin are those with type 1 diabetes and they must inject insulin to make up for what the body cannot naturally produce. So, it’s fair to say that insulin plays an extremely important role in our body.

Insulin ushers blood glucose into several different storage units to get it out of the bloodstream and for it to be used for energy.

Firstly, the insulin pops over to the liver to deliver some of the glucose, where it is turned into glycogen (it can hold about 100g at a time).

The second storage unit is our muscles which is great as there are plenty of muscles for the glucose to be stored in. Unfortunately, we tend to eat much more glucose than our body needs, so these storage units (the liver and muscles) get full pretty quickly.

However, there is another storage unit that has the ability to grow without us even leaving the sofa…..our fat cells!

Once our liver and muscles are full up with glucose, any excess glucose can be converted to fat and stored safely in our fat cells. Hence, this is one of the ways we gain weight.

It is important to note here that foods high in fructose cannot be stored as glycogen in the liver or stored in our muscles – so fructose can only be stored as fat.

Due to this I recommend really cutting down on the amount of sweet foods that you are consuming as these contain fructose. Even if two foods contain the same number of calories a great tip is to opt for the savoury (fructose free) option over the sweet (fructose) option. Less fructose in the diet means fewer molecules end up as fat.

We can’t be mad at our body as it is using our fat cells as a safe storage place for excess glucose and fructose which, if lingers in the bloodstream becomes extremely dangerous. The more the body can grow its fat cells, the longer you are protected. However, it does result in weight gain, especially weight gain around the middle which in itself can lead to further serious health risks.

So lets go back to insulin….although it is vital, too much of it can be a bad thing.

The more we eat and the more sugary and starchy foods we eat, the more blood sugar keeps coming and flooding our blood stream. As a result, more and more insulin that is needed to keep shifting the glucose out of the bloodstream and into our cells, including our fat cells. However, too much insulin is the root cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and more.

Insulin and Energy Levels

Spikes in blood glucose levels which cause peaks and troughs can cause many symptoms such as fatigue and weight gain. Eating sugary or starchy foods lacking in fibre will cause this.

You may have experienced a crash in energy levels after indulging in sugary treats or even feeling sluggish midmorning due to that sugary breakfast. Although the human body needs sugar, it also needs the amount of sugar to remain at a consistent level.

Sugar crashes can cause you to be incredibly distracted throughout the day, which may lead to a lack of productivity and concentration.

Insulin and Appetite

Crashes in blood sugar levels will leave you hungry – even if it wasn’t that long since you ate. Blood sugar dips after eating have also been linked to increased hunger.

How often have you visited the infamous golden arches, scoffed down a Big Mac and fries, only to find yourself hungry again an hour later? How can it be 1080 calories and I am still hungry?

Your insulin levels have peaked and crashed leaving you hungry!

Reducing Insulin Spikes

It’s time to flatten our glucose levels to bring results and relief to our overwhelmed & overloaded bodies.

The easiest way to flatten your blood sugar levels and reverse insulin resistance is to…

  • Exercise and to adapt & modify your diet. Not only does exercise help you to burn calories in order to lose weight, it also causes muscles to be more insulin SENSITIVE and open the cell doors to receive glucose. The quicker your muscles can use the stored glucose for energy, the sooner they have some space to take on more glucose.
  • Not try fad diets or calorie-restricted diets as these are not needed to reverse resistance; It is more important to look at when and how often you are eating and the type of foods that you are eating. How much processed, refined, sugary and starchy foods are in your diet? Like I said before, be very careful on the amount of fructose you are consuming as this is ONLY stored as fat. Sucrose which is table sugar contains both fructose and glucose.

Concentrating on these two things alone will go a long way towards better health.



Lucy Round (The Detox Coach) is a qualified nutrition coach, detox & wellness coach and personal trainer and the founder of www.clowcleanse.co.uk and WeightLossForBusyMums (a weight loss support group for busy mums).

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