Role of Hormones in Obesity
Role of Hormones in Obesity

Obesity is described as a condition of the body which is characterized by storage of excessive fat in the adipose tissue. The major cause of obesity is the consumption of excess food (calorie) in comparison to our physiological needs.

Certain types of eating habits (overeating) lead to consuming more calories than you burn thus resulting in obesity. Nibbling between meals, fast eating/ taking less time for chewing, eating when surrounded with food rather than actually being hungry, attending frequent business lunches, eating the leftover foods of other family members, eating outside food very frequently, eating more of junk food, eating too many sweets during festive occasions, eating processed, concentrated and high fat food, emotional eating, consumption of sugar added beverages, personnel who work in different shifts, whose body clock is disturbed—all these result in overeating.

Having said that, overeating (consuming more calories) is not the only cause of obesity. Body’s hormonal and metabolic regulation system also plays a major role. Hormones play an integral role in metabolism and your body’s ability to use energy.

  • Low progesterone / high estrogen level is the most common cause that most young women experience. It increases insulin leading to sugar cravings.
  • High estrogen level increases fatty tissues which in turn result in more estrogen.
  • High estrogen level also causes fluid retention and bloating.
  • Low progesterone level can disturb your thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism decreases the metabolic rate of the body and encourages weight gain. Poor thyroid function and metabolic disorders result in diseases like diabetes or PCOD.
  • Our lives today seem to be governed by stress which in turn releases Cortisol hormone. It has a direct impact on your metabolism as it affects the digestive system leading to visceral fat deposition.
  • Menopause is another cause. The estrogen level drops during premenopausal period. This results in accumulation of abdominal fats that contributes to weight gain.
  • The quality of sleep is closely related to the amount of stress in your life and therefore your eating habits. When we run short of sleep, blood levels of hormone Leptin (decreases appetite) drop. Sleep deprivation also increases levels of the hormone Ghrelin (increases appetite). These are two ‘hunger hormones’ which help to regulate your appetite.

Knowing the other causes of obesity apart from overeating, we should keep in mind that maintaining an active lifestyle will help offset some of these metabolic changes if not all.

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