It’s true that your hormones can affect your weight. “Hormonal fluctuations play a significant role in women’s weight throughout life,” says Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, an obesity physician and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital. “During hormonal changes [certain life stages] can affect the body’s hunger signals,” says Dr. Stanford. There are three main times you may notice weight changes: (1)
According to Jessica Kording, RD, nutritionist and author of The Little Book of Game Changers, several hormones have been linked to weight gain. Stress hormones cortisol, estrogen, insulin, serotonin, melatonin and testosterone are among the most famous. (2) The way they all work is slightly different, but in general, hormones either affect how hungry you feel or signal your body to store fat, according to Cording.
Dr. “There are female hormones like estradiol and progesterone that can affect weight,” says Stanford. “They affect hunger hormones like ghrelin, which tells us to eat more and keep it down, and leptin, which helps us feel full to influence eating behaviors and body fat storage.”
But it’s important to note that the relationship between hormones and weight is complex, and losing weight isn’t always as simple as balancing your hormones—unless you have a condition like hypothyroidism, says Mir Ali, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director. MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
Unraveling the Hormone-Diet Connection: Exploring Natasha Turner’s Approach to Weight Loss and Hormone Balance
Naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner created the Hormone Diet food regimen and book. (The full title of the book is The Hormone Diet: A 3-Step Program to Lose Weight, Gain Strength, and Live Younger.)
Turner believes that controlling your hormones can help you lose weight. Turner recommends using an anti-inflammatory detox to help manage your hormones, as well as nutritional supplements and exercise, proper sleep, stress management, and clear skin care.
He also claims that when you have afternoon sugar cravings, chronic migraines, and lack of energy, your body is trying to tell you that your hormones are out of whack.
Natasha Turner’s 3-Phase Approach to Hormonal Dieting
In phase one, you avoid gluten, dairy, alcohol, most fats, caffeine, peanuts, sugar, artificial sweeteners, red meat, and citrus fruits for two weeks. Gluten-free grains, most vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, chicken, fish, eggs, plant milk, goat or sheep milk products are encouraged.
You should also take vitamins such as probiotics, turmeric and fish oil at the same time.
At this point, Cording recommends reintroducing certain items into your diet and watching how your body responds. You should also avoid high fructose corn syrup, non-organic produce, mercury-rich fish (such as sea bass, mackerel, and tuna), raisins, dates, peanuts, processed foods, refined grains, and foods that contain nitrates.
Turner describes her approach as a combination of the Mediterranean diet and ingredients that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Finally, you are encouraged to proceed to the second phase, focusing on cardio and strength training.
Does the hormone diet help you lose weight?
There is no actual scientific evidence that the Hormone Diet is associated with weight loss or can affect your hormones. However, some meal plan principles can help you lose weight, according to experts.
Dr. Stanford always prefers to eat a minimally processed diet. “However, if you stick to just a six-week plan, you’ll likely find that any weight you’ve lost will come back once you resume your normal eating habits.” “The bottom line is that if you follow a diet that works for you, you should stick to it,” she says.
1. Lovejoy JC. The effect of sex hormones on obesity during a woman’s life. J Women’s Health. 1998 Dec;7(10):1247-56. doi: 10.1089/jwh.1998.7.1247. PMID: 9929857.
2. Leeners B, Geary N, Tobler PN, Asarian L. Ovarian hormones and obesity. Hum Reprod Update. 2017 May 1;23(3):300-321. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmw045. PMID: 28333235; PMCID: PMC5850121.