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This means lean
meats and fish, eggs,
milk, cheese, yogurt,
and beans. Fats don¡¯t
trigger insulin and
provide a sense of
fullness so add a little
to each meal as well.
Don¡¯t skip breakfast!
If you don¡¯t take in
some calories first
thing in the morn-
ing, as a ¡°break from
the overnight fast¡±,
then your body will
go into emergency
mode, releasing
the stress hormone
cortisol and breaking
down stored glucose
for fuel. This causes
a quick insulin spike
and leads to irregular
sugar/insulin balance
throughout the day.
Insulin spikes lead
to insulin resistance
whereas the smooth
release of insulin from
the intake of complex
carbohydrates and
protein is much more
Try a ¡°wake-up¡± pro-
tein if you don¡¯t get to
breakfast right away.
Whey protein isolate
or concentrate in plain
water, or mixed in a
smoothie, is an excel-
lent complete protein
source. Studies show
that eating breakfast and especially including
protein at breakfast leads to less hunger and less
weight gain.
Sleep is a very important suppressor of ghrelin,
and poor sleep will increase ghrelin levels leading
to increased appetite the next day. Interestingly,
ghrelin helps us get into a good sleep cycle, so
going to bed with a full stomach and low ghrelin
can interfere with sleep. Don¡¯t eat a big meal just
before bedtime and be sure to get enough sleep.
We use a variety of targeted supplements that
help insulin and leptin work better. Our staff
health coach, Monica Cullinane, is certified in
nutrition and specializes in developing custom
workouts and diet plans that can help your ex-
ercise efforts better target those friendly hunger
* * * * *
Free Seminars at the IMC:
¡®HCG Weight Loss¡¯ - Monday, October 7, 6pm;
¡®Laser Skin Care¡¯ - Wednesday, October 16, 6pm;
¡®Adrenal Fatigue¡¯ - Monday, October 21, 6pm.
RSVP @ 970.245.6911 or
* * * * *
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the
American Board of Family Practice and the
American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative
Medicine. He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone
Replacement for men and women, thyroid and
adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and
other complex medical conditions. He is founder
and medical director of the Integrative Medicine
Center of Western Colorado ( and
Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (
Call 970.245.6911 for an appointment or more
2013 October
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Making your hunger hormones work
for weight loss
Exercise more and metabolism increases so we
eat more. Exercise less and metabolism de-
creases so we eat less. Sometimes the increased
food intake caused by more exercise will sabo-
tage weight loss efforts by offsetting the calories
burned. By understanding a few key hunger
hormones we can tailor our exercise to minimize
the hunger response.
The Hunger Hormones
Leptin and ghrelin are the main hormone play-
ers with appetite. Leptin is made by fat cells and
manages hunger on a day-to-day basis by telling
our brain, after a good meal, that we are sati-
ated or full while it speeds up our metabolism.
Ghrelin is made by an empty stomach, sends the
message that we are hungry, and slowing down
the metabolism.
Exercise will affect both leptin and ghrelin, but
different exercise has different effects. Moderate
intensity prolonged exercise such as swimming
or running increases ghrelin and suppresses
leptin, which will increase the appetite. The
short duration intense exercise such as sprint-
ing or interval training will suppress both leptin
and ghrelin leading to an appetite diminishing
effect. It seems that low intensity activity such as
casual walking has a neutral effect.
Some studies show that doubling the exercise
time will not result in twice the weight loss. It
appears that the shorter duration intense exer-
cise or the longer duration low intensity exercise
will result in the least amount of hunger caused
by the exercise itself.
Home programs such as P90X and Insanity are
examples of more short duration high intensity
exercises. The interval training methods with
peak intensity are also shown to promote the
fat-burning-muscle-building hormone called
growth hormone.
The increased appetite associated with exercise
gives cause to consider just what food is con-
sumed after exercise. This is especially true with
high intensity exercises and strength training.
During and for only a few hours immediately
after exercise the body is primed to absorb nutri-
ents, break down fat and rebuild muscle. What
we feed the body has a huge impact on this
process. A nutritious recovery drink can really
improve the body¡¯s response to your exercise
The Role of Insulin and Glucagon
Insulin is a ¡°fat storage¡± hormone produced by
the pancreas in response to a meal, and similar
to leptin, high levels of insulin will tell our brain
we are full. It responds to high blood sugar lev-
els by opening up muscle and liver cells so that
glucose may leave the bloodstream to be stored
as energy that can be burned later. But, only
during and immediately after exercise, insulin
behaves differently, helping turn on protein
building in muscle.
Glucagon is another hormone from the pancreas
and is considered as the opposite of insulin,
responding to low blood sugar or a high protein
meal by stimulating the release of stored glucose
from the liver.
Feast or Famine
When all goes well our hunger hormones are
an elegant system of appetite and metabolism
control. During times of feast leptin signals the
brain we are full and turns up metabolism while
insulin stores the excess calories. During famine,
ghrelin alerts our brain to get moving and find
something to eat, while glucagon breaks down
stored glucose to provide fuel for the energy to
hunt down that next meal.
So where do things go awry? Starting with high
calorie nutrient poor foods, coupled with lack of
exercise and topped off with an aging metabo-
Health & Nurturing
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
¡°Don¡¯t skip breakfast!
Try a ¡°wake-up¡± protein if you
don¡¯t get to breakfast right away.¡±
- Dr. Scott Rollins, M.D.
lism, we tend to store calories and weight goes
up. Once the extra weight builds up insulin and
leptin both become less effective. We keep mak-
ing more and more but our helpful hunger hor-
mones just quit working as our body becomes
more resistant to their effects.
As an example, Type 2 diabetics have insulin
resistance. Once fat starts building up in muscle
and liver tissue, insulin resistance sets in and
we can¡¯t handle the glucose in the bloodstream.
This starts a vicious cycle since high blood sugar
leads to high blood triglycerides, while high in-
sulin levels encourage more fat storage. Even the
first 10 pounds of extra weight will cause some
degree of insulin resistance.
Leptin resistance also occurs with weight gain.
Similar to insulin in the diabetic, we make more
and more leptin as we gain weight, but it quits
working to signal the brain that we are full, thus
leading to a cycle of persistent hunger pains.
Keys to Weight Control
Work with the hunger hormones to keep appe-
tite under control. Get the right kinds of exercise
and give the body the right type of recovery
nutrients after a workout. Eating patterns in
general can encourage the hunger hormones to
work for you instead of against you.
Help insulin work by cutting out insulin spiking
foods such as sugar and high-glycemic carbohy-
drates. Grains, especially wheat, cause a quick
insulin spike so go light on them. Eat more com-
plex carbohydrates including greens and other
colored vegetables and fruits.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity so take a 15
minute walk after eating, and remember to get
some nutrients immediately after exercise when
insulin works to build muscle. Be sure to include
a bit of resistance or strength training as insulin
is hard at work in muscle tissue.
Include protein at every meal for good metabo-
lism, to help stabilize insulin spikes, provide
building blocks for muscle and to encourage
glucagon release.