Our bodies produce hormones that signal our brain when we are hungry and when we are full. Ghrelin hormones when we are hungry and leptin when we are full.

Our bodies produce hormones that signal our brain when we are hungry and when we are full. 

  • Ghrelin, the hormone that signals when we are hungry is made and released in the linings of the stomach and small intestine. 
  • Leptin, the hormone that signals when we are full, is produced in the endocrine system which the body’s fat tissue influences.

Ghrelin signals the body to increase food intake and is influenced by age, gender, BMI, growth hormones, glucose, insulin and leptin. Meal composition is also thought to play a role in this ratio.

The Science

The discovery of these hormones is rather recent, 1994 for Leptin and 1999 for Ghrelin. It is clear that lack of sleep and stress affect these hormones, but further studies needed to determine if there are specific food ingredients that influence these hormones.

Some studies indicate:

  • Overweight men can maintain a good balance of leptin to ghrelin if they do not eat a high carbohydrate breakfast (2018)
  • More studies are needed to determine if diets high in fructose affect male’s brain and cognitive functions. Includes effect on ghrelin and insulin resistance. (2015)
  • In lean women, when fructose is consumed in the form of high fructose corn syrup, the metabolic response does not differ from sugar.(2007)
  • Dietary fat, in particular, soybean oil may have an impact on mental health and metabolic health. But, in conclusion, it is clear that additional studies are needed. (2020)

Is the Belly Melt diet right for you?

The science on the diet’s effect on hunger hormones is not complete. Some medical practitioners claim this diet is just one of many diet scams. As with any diet, FDA cautions consumers to beware of products or diets that promise miracle weight loss and always consult a health care practitioner or registered dietitian.

Current Recommendations

Dieticians are closely following appetite hormones and offer the following guidance (Today’s Dietician):

10 Tips to stabilize hormone levels that affect hunger:

  1. Eat on a schedule
  2. Eat a high-protein breakfast
  3. Eat a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat at meals and snacks
  4. Consume omega-3 fats 
  5. Eat high quality animal proteins (skinless poultry, lean beef, eggs, fat free Greek yogurt, lentils, oats) at each meal.
  6. Meals should include foods that fill up the plate with their size, but have lower calorie content. 
  7. Seek pleasure from other activities besides eating (such as listening to music).
  8. Get adequate amounts of sleep.
  9. Commit to regular exercise.
  10. Enlist support from mental health experts if you struggle with stress.


Eckstein, P. (2011). The Role of Ghrelin and Leptin in Obesity: Is Exogenous Administration of These Hormones a Possible Drug Therapy?. The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences, 4 (2). Retrieved from https://touroscholar.touro.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1167&context=sjlcas