Hormone Diets Are All The Rage Now, So Here's Some Actual Science
When it comes to losing weight and getting healthy, there never seems to be a shortage of diet and fitness crazes claiming to hold the secret to easy, sustainable weight loss.
Some of the most recent popular diet crazes include the ketogenic diet (low carbohydrate, high fat), the carnivore diet (only eating meat and other animal products), and intermittent fasting (eating only within a strict timeframe, or on certain days).
But another diet plan that's come into the spotlight recently is the hormone diet, which claims that the reason people struggle to lose weight is because their hormones aren't working properly.
Numerous books have been written about this topic, with advocates of the hormone diet claiming people can experience quick and significant weight loss by using diet and exercise to manipulate or "reset" their hormones. There are a few variations of the diet, but the main idea with each is that the key to losing weight is by correcting perceived hormonal imbalances in the body.
Hormones play an important role in our body's everyday processes, from digesting food to helping bones grow. They're transported around the body through the bloodstream and act as "chemical messengers" which instruct cells to perform specific jobs.
For example, insulin is essential for regulating metabolic processes and allows the body to store the carbohydrates from food as energy in our muscle cells. When we eat, it causes blood sugar levels to rise, which results in the pancreas releasing insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin then attaches itself to cells and signals them to absorb sugar from the bloodstream and store it for later use.
Insulin was once thought to play a key role in weight gain, but recent research shows that total calorie intake is actually the primary factor in gaining or losing weight.
Robert Naughton, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield.