HORMONES CONTROL HUNGER, telling our body when to eat and when to stop.
Ghrelin is a powerful hormone that causes hunger and cholecystokinin and peptide YY are hormones that tell us when we are full and should stop eating. Imagine you’re at the all-you-can-eat buffet. You’ve already eaten many heaping platefuls of food and you are completely, 110 percent full.
Now, could you eat a few more pork chops? Merely the thought might make you nauseous. Yet these are the same pork chops you ate happily just a few minutes ago. The difference is that satiety hormones are exerting a powerful effect to stop you from eating. Contrary to many popular beliefs, we do not continue eating simply because food is available. Calorie consumption is under tight hormonal regulation.
Fat accumulation is truly not a problem of energy excess. It’s the problem of energy distribution. Too much energy is diverted to producing fat as opposed to, say, increasing body heat or forming new bone tissue. This energy expenditure is controlled hormonally. As long as we believed, wrongly, that excessive caloric intake led to obesity, we were doomed to failure as we uselessly tried to reduce calories.
We cannot “decide” to feel less hungry. We cannot “decide” to increase basal metabolic rate.
If we eat fewer calories, our body simply compensates by decreasing its metabolic rate. If calories are not the underlying cause of weight gain, then reducing calories cannot reliably reduce weight. The most important factor in controlling the fat accumulation and weight gain is to control the hormonal signals we receive from food, not the total number of calories we eat.
Obesity is a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one. The hormonal problem in undesired weight gain is mainly excessive insulin. Thus, type 2 diabetes, too, is a disease about insulin imbalance rather than caloric imbalance.