What is Ghrelin?
Ghrelin also known as lenomorelin is a peptide (small protein like molecules) hormone that functions as a neuropeptide in the central nervous system (CNS) signaling / influencing the brain and the body in regulating appetite, increase food intake and promote fat storage. Ghrelin also stimulates the release of growth hormone that breaks down the fat tissue and enhance muscle growth.
The hunger hormone
Ghrelin is produced and released by the stomach. The brain, pancreas and small intestine also release a small amount of ghrelin. The level of ghrelin in the blood rises up when the stomach is empty and decreases when the stomach expands or stretch after food intake. In short if you are hungry ghrelin levels rise and reduce after eating. Ghrelin is also recognized as the hunger hormone because of its role in stimulating appetite.
Role of ghrelin in a diet
- Stimulates appetite
- Increase food intake
- Promote fat storage.
The reduction of ghrelin after food intake is regulated by the macro nutrients in varying degrees. Food high in protein and carbohydrates reduce level of ghrelin majorly compared to fatty foods.
Ghrelin and weight loss
When planning a calorie deficit diet for weight loss the functions of ghrelin needs to be considered as it increases hunger, food intake and promote fat storage. Food rich in proteins and carbohydrates with low amount of fat in it is crucial in planning a calorie deficit diet for weight loss. It is also logical to avoid fatty foods on a calorie deficit diet as 1 gram of fat gives 9 calories when compared to protein and carbohydrates which gives 4 calories / gram.
The key to lose weight on a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet is to consume enough calories so that the amount of ghrelin can be suppressed. The amount of sleep is also important in regulating the level of ghrelin. Longer duration of sleep suppresses the level of ghrelin circulating in the blood.