Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and Weight Loss

By Dr Natalie Ledbetter CRNA, DAcOM

Ghrelin is a hormone released mainly by the stomach that causes you to feel hungry and encourages the body to store fat. Ghrelin levels increase just before eating, when fasting, and with severe calorie restriction diets. Ghrelin increases in times of stress and poor sleep.

Adequate hours of quality sleep and stress management lead to decreased ghrelin levels. Eating protein and fiber with each meal helps support healthy ghrelin. High intensity training (HIT) or burst exercise decreases this hormone within 30 minutes, while mild to moderate aerobic exercise does not.

The recipe for reducing ghrelin·

No crash diets- you will just regain the weight once you stop the severe calorie restriction and feel increased levels of hunger.

Eat nutrient dense unprocessed food· Include plenty of fiber and protein in every meal to increase feelings of fullness·

Practice burst training (I will be writing an article on this soon)·

Get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night·

Minimize or manage stress with practices such as Tai Qi, yoga, meditation, gratitude work, and breathing exercises·

Practice mindful eating- pay attention to every bite you take, chew thoughtfully and slowly, and pay attention to your body so you can stop eating when you are about 80% full. If you keep eating until you realize you feel full, you will have overeaten.·

Avoid ultra-processed food. These foods are very high in sugar and/or Omega 6 fats, and calories. They activate the reward center in the brain by causing a dopamine dump. They are highly addictive and serve no nutritional purpose. Ultra-processed food is an enemy to your waist and your health.


Decreasing the hunger hormone ghrelin can drastically help with weight loss and weight management. By following the tips above, you can decrease your ghrelin levels which will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

For the full article, click here

(See my previous article on resetting leptin levels which works hand in hand with ghrelin to optimize weight and body composition).

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