Impact of Hormones on Hunger

Author : Anshul Dhamande, INFS Faculty, Standard Coach @ Fittr

Are you someone who think that you can not follow a Nutrition plan as you often feel hungry? Are you on a weight loss diet but finding it difficult to stick to it owing to hunger pangs? And is the frustration leaving you with questions like, Why do we feel hungry at all? And why is that few people feel hungry shortly after eating while others can go without feeling hungry for long? Read this article to gain a better insight.


Hunger is a biological process but many of us don’t understand it. It is a difficult feeling to ignore for some people. The type of food we consume has an impact on our hunger. Rather, certain hormones are responsible for controlling our appetite.

hunger hormones

Leptin and Ghrelin are two important hormones that influence the levels of our satiety and hunger.


  • Leptin is a hormone primarily made by adipose (fat) cells and enterocytes in the small intestine.
  • It helps in regulating energy balance by suppressing hunger.
  • Being on a calorie deficit decreases leptin levels in the body. This increases feeling of hunger.
  • Leptin also impacts energy expenditure. Lower leptin levels reduce energy burned through NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).


  • Ghrelin, also termed as the hunger hormone, is produced by cells, especially in the stomach.
  • It travels through your blood stream to your brain and sends a ‘hunger signal’ to the brain.
  • Ghrelin levels are elevated when in calorie deficit.
  • It is responsible for causing hunger.

take away

It is fairly seen that people on deficit for long, constantly keep thinking or craving food.

Being on a calorie deficit, you might notice your increase in hunger levels as well as feeling lethargic. The hunger signals are going from the two hormones = Leptin and Ghrelin, decreasing and increasing respectively.

People who are on calorie deficit for longer and longer periods find themselves thinking of food and craving foods constantly. Now you understand what is going on in the body!


1. Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., & Norton, L. E. (2014). Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), 1-7. Available:

2. Mäestu, J., Jürimäe, J., Valter, I., & Jürimäe, T. (2008). Increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin without altering adiponectin during extreme weight loss in male competitive bodybuilders. Metabolism, 57(2), 221-225. Available:

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