The Hormone Diet: Should You Try it? We Break Down How it Works

By Krista

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Last Updated: October 24, 2022

There’s a lot of buzz about hormones in the health world lately.

In relation to this, there are tons of ads cramming yet another diet down our throats. Enter: The Hormone Diet. So, what’s the deal? Is this just another trend?

Well, there might be something to it. You know the ol’ saying “You are what you eat.” Well, this somewhat applies to how your hormones function and if your body has the tools it needs to regulate and create certain hormones. 

So, let’s dig into “The Hormone Diet” a little deeper.

  • What is this protocol?
  • Should you follow it?
  • Is there anything else you should know?

 

 

What are Hormone Diets?

Hormone diets basically follow a way of eating with the primary goal of balancing your hormones. 

As you might already know, our hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. These chemical messengers travel through the blood, activating, deactivating, and impacting various processes throughout your body.

Some well-known hormones include:

Estrogen

This is the female hormone that regulates the female reproductive system, as well as plays a role in the development of adipose tissue and regulates certain aspects of the cardiovascular system (which makes sense when we know that women post-menopause, who don’t produce as much estrogen, are at a higher risk of cardiovascular issues).

Insulin

This hormone allows the body’s cells to take in glucose from the blood.

Testosterone

This is the major male sex hormone (but ladies, we also have a bit of it too!) which helps regulate sex drive, muscle mass, bone mass, and fat mass.

Ghrelin

This hormone is released when your body needs more energy (food), and it makes you feel hungry. Opposite of this is Leptin, which is the hormone that makes you feel full. 

The body is home to over 50 hormones, so inevitably the above barely scratches the surface here.

But if you aren’t eating foods that promote good gut health and detoxification, as well as have plenty of nutrients your body needs, your body might not be able to eliminate broken-down hormones (aka used hormones) or produce sufficient amounts of other hormones.

 

 

Okay, so how does The Hormone Diet come into all of this?

The Hormone Diet claims to “reset” your hormones via the food you eat. The Hormone Diet is also a book that outlines this protocol, as well as lifestyle modifications one can make to improve hormonal health.

At the end of the day, your hormones aren’t just regulated by what you eat. Stress, sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle choices also impact your hormonal functions.

And all in all, this diet actually seems fairly healthy and beneficial, not just for hormonal health but also for whole body health.

It eliminates common issues in the modern diet, like alcohol and refined sugars, while emphasizing eating nutrient-dense whole foods, like fruits, veggies, beans, chicken, fish, eggs, and more.

It also takes out common “inflammatory” foods, which can improve gut health and hormonal health.

It’s important to note that your hormones and gut are very intricately linked. If you have gut issues, it’s likely you have hormone issues and vice versa.

This is because the gut is responsible for the regulation and production of certain hormones, like serotonin, and is responsible for the proper elimination of used hormones as mentioned above.

 

What is Hormonal Belly?

Excess fat around the abdominal area, frequently called the hormonal belly, can be due to hormonal imbalances. In fact, in this situation, it’s often linked to deficiencies in the thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism. 

However, a hormonal belly can also be due to high stress. When cortisol is produced, especially over long periods of time, this triggers the body to store fat in the abdominal area. Storing fat here is a survival mechanism that dates back to those hunter-gatherer days (We know, not that useful for many today!). 

Other hormonal imbalances that cause hormonal belly further include:

  • Issues with leptin, the satiety hormone
  • Low testosterone
  • Estrogen issues
  • Insulin resistance

Related Article: 5 Ways to Develop and Maintain a Positive Relationship With Your Body

 

 

Does the Hormone Type Diet Work?

This all depends. 

Hormone diets can work since they help you create a healthy and more balanced diet. Yet, it’s always important to note that each person’s tolerance for certain foods and nutritional needs vary. 

And restrictive diets, such as the Hormone Diet, can, sometimes, lead to disordered eating if you’re not careful or if you become obsessive about it. In fact, for many women and girls the term “diet” can have serious implications. Just something to keep in mind here!

Plus, if you’re having hormonal issues, it’s really important not to just look at your diet. Your whole lifestyle impacts your internal workings. Tackling your health from a holistic standpoint is always encouraged. 

 

 

The Hormone Diet: How to Balance Your Hormones Naturally

So, with the above in mind, here are a few ways you can balance your hormones naturally:

  • Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night
  • Move daily! 
  • Weight train for improved muscle mass
  • Nail down ways to de-stress or eliminate stressors from your life
  • Eat enough protein at each meal (aim for 20-30 grams)
  • Pay attention to your gut health and take care of it (If a food doesn’t sit well, it might be best to avoid or limit it.)
  • Steer clear of refined sugars (or limit them)
  • Make sure you’re eating enough fiber (fruits and veggies are full of it!)
  • Follow the concept of “everything in moderation”
  • Stay consistent (Use the 80-20 principle)
  • Limit or avoid alcohol and/or drugs

On top of the above, many health coaches encourage tracking data points, such as your sleep, movement, heart rate variability, and more, through wearable devices like the Fitbit or Oura Ring.

It can also help to track what you eat for a few weeks to understand where your nutritional intake is lacking and where it can be improved.

Related Article: Coffee and Your Gut Health: Is it Friend or Foe?

 

 

Should You Try the Hormone Diet?

Again, this entirely depends on you.

Sure, there is some scientific basis to it, but, again, everyone is different. Furthermore, eating restrictively may solve some issues but create others. 

At the end of the day, the best approach to good health and a healthy weight is reinforcing health in all aspects of your life. Get that daily movement in (walks are great for this!). Nourish your body with food. Nourish your mind with relaxation activities or techniques.

There are so many ways to improve your health, hormones, and life!

Read Next: Have You Ever Wondered How Much Your Diet Affects Your Mental Health?

Photo by Ella Olsson

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