There’s more to the exercise/fat loss equation than simply burning calories. It appears that exercise, when combined with a sensible diet, helps to reduce a key appetite control hormone, making us less likely to overeat. That hormone is Grehlin.
Grehlin is a hormone that is made in the stomach. When Grehlin is made in our stomach and pumped into our system we tend to eat more. Grehlin is responsible for all those times that we reach for snack or junk food when we know that we’re not really hungry. That’s because Grehlin is one of the hormones in our body that tells us that we are hungry. Sleep deprivation increases the levels of grehlin. In fact, in order to control your Grehlin levels, it is absolutely vital that you sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours each night.
Enhanced Grehlin levels in your body don’t just make you hungry. They also slow down your metabolism as well as decreasing the body’s ability to burn fat.
When we go on a diet, we fool our body into the starvation response. It goes into a series of responses designed to preserve the weight that we have. One of those responses is to secrete Ghehlin. Grehlin turns on the hunger center in the brain, which has the effect of increasing our appetite and making us seek out food. Our goal, then, should be to reduce the release of Grehlin. A Brazilian study that focused on overweight people of both genders showed that exercise actually diminishes the release of grehlin. The exercise, of course, had additional benefits. It also helped the survey participants to maintain their resting metabolic rate. This helps to counter the yo-yo effect that so many dieter experience when they put weight back on post dieting.
Commenting in the Journal of American Medical Association, George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton, Rouge, Louisiana, pointed out that there is only one drug that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of obesity. This despite the fact that the US obesity rate is 250 times greater than it was in 1970. The weight loss focus in the United States is founded upon diet, exercise and bariatric surgery (this includes such procedures as gastric band surgery and removal of a portion of the stomach). Dr Bray advocated devoting more research energy into responders for weight loss, including weight loss drugs.
Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome Obesity: Targets Therapy, 6: 469-475, 2014Journal American Medical association, 307:2641, 2012