Five hormones that contribute to weight gain

- The new year is in full swing and hopefully you are holding steadfast to your resolutions. If weight loss is one of your goals and you are restricting calories or limiting your diet but not seeing results, hormones may be to blame. Hormones can impact your ability to use calories, balance blood sugar, boost metabolism, burn belly fat, and gain satisfaction from foods.

Integrative dietitian Ali Miller, owner of Naturally Nourished, shares five hormones that may be making you fat and share a recipe that can help get things on track!


This hormone plays a role with satiety or a feeling of satisfaction. Research supports that lower levels of leptin can lead to over eating and eventually weight gain. Leptin is stimulated by ample fat in the diet and is produced most effectively when at managed stress levels.
Corn syrup, agave and other refined fructose sources can disrupt your leptin hormones leading to over eating and a lack of satisfaction!


This sexual hormone plays a role in supple skin and bone health as well as belly fat and increased fat storage. Many hormones can be converted into others so testosterone for example can be aromatased or processed through an enzyme into estrogen. We are now seeing that fat stores themselves are acting in hormonal ways and excess belly fat leads to increased conversion of estrogen. Dominance of estrogen can lead to mood disturbances, infertility, elevated blood pressure, and fibroids.
Reduce excess estrogen by ensuring your animal and diary products are hormone-free as well as avoiding plastics and estrogen-related compounds such as soy isolate. Consume foods rich in fiber such as beans, leafy greens, nuts and seeds to aid in trapping and detoxifying estrogen.


The primary stress hormone released during fight-or-flight plays a role with increasing body fat especially in the belly as well as decreasing muscle tone and hindering immune function. As many things in the body, often clients go hyper-cortisol prior to going hypo or low in values seen with adrenal fatigue. It requires both management of the source of stress as well as the perception and coping mechanisms.
We work with clients to improve their resilience to stress and have more vigor through supporting them with stress management and adrenal treatment.
Vitamin C is highest concentrated in adrenal glands and B-vitamins play a role as co-factors or converters to build adrenaline and cortisol hormones while tonifying the gland. Bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli, berries, citrus are all great sources of vitamin C!


This hormone is made in the body’s fat stores and plays a role with how efficient the body is at metabolizing calories. It creates thermogenesis or caloric burn through increased temperature and is found in grey fat vs. the white fat in the body. Adiponectin helps your body use glucose and insulin more effective which in turn decreases body fat.
Boost your body’s adiponectin with ample sleep of at least 8 hours a night. Yoga and resistance training boosts adionectin. For food-as-medicine consume foods with monounsaturated fasts such as olive oil and incorporate turmeric root into your diet which can stimulate production as well.


This hormone plays a role in reward seeking or cravings. Dopamine often gets depleted during a stressful day which leaves many of us returning home looking to “fill the void” or get the “food coma”.
Maintain adequate dopamine levels by managing stress demands and providing the body with L-tyrosine the precursor or building block for domaine in the body. Seaweed, Eggs, and Wild Fish are great sources.

White Bean Spread
Ali Miller, Naturally Nourished

This recipe provides B-vitamins to boost metabolism and aid in conversion of neurohormones while providing fiber to aid in detoxifying estrogen stores in the body. The healthy fats and acid contribute to adiponectin and reduction of cortisol aiding as a driver for burning fat and reducing fat storage. When paired with protein, this hearty snack works to maintain satiety while providing nourishment to balance hormones and support optimal body composition.


  • Can of Cannellini beans, drained (Eden brand has Kombu and is BPA-free)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped herbs rosemary
  • 1 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste


Combine beans and lemon juice and mash with fork. Once combined, add in olive oil, herbs, and sea salt. Serve with Zucchini chips and raw carrots/veggies or try spreading on a collard green or chard leaf as a roll-up with in-house roasted turkey.

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