Hormones and Weight Loss

Hormones and Weight Loss
Nicole Vulcan

Many of us have been there: taking the steps to lose weight, but failing to make progress. If you’ve found yourself cutting calories, working out and yet still not losing weight, there may be a few things you’re overlooking. One often-overlooked reason: the connection between eating organic, whole foods and hormone health. Add in the obvious benefits of maintaining healthy hormone levels during pre-menopause, and menopause itself, and this becomes one topic you’ll definitely want to know more about.

Organics and hormone health

You’ve probably had someone in your life mention the benefits of organic food, but did they mention the hormone benefits? Your body produces both fat-storing and fat-burning hormones, triggered or hindered by the foods you eat and other substances your body absorbs in the air, water, etc. When you consume conventional produce—as well as conventionally-produced meats and dairy—you’re potentially exposing your body to a host of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals, which your body recognizes in the same way it does naturally-produced hormones. When those fake hormones, including xenoestrogens, are present, it can signal your to your body to stop creating its own fat-burning hormones.

That’s a key tenet of the book, “The New Body Type Guide,” by Dr. Eric Berg, DC, a Virginia practitioner who’s helped thousands of people lose weight, primarily by coaching them to restore their overall health—and improve their hormone health along the way. Birth control pills and the hormones used to bulk up cattle, chicken, turkeys and farm-raised fish can also mimic estrogen and cause people to accumulate fat, Dr. Berg writes in the book. For women, that fat is typically carried around the hips, thighs, backside and under the belly button.

Among the methods for fostering hormone health, Dr. Berg recommends reducing our load of pesticides and synthetic hormones by eating as much organic food as possible—organic dairy products and meats being especially important.

Jodi Harris, ND, SRT, of Back to Nature Holistic Wellness Center, offers similar advice to the patients who see her at her Sturgis clinic. Among the naturopathic physician’s recommended “Steps to Wellness,” Harris says drinking alkaline water, eating certified organic food and plenty of sunshine and time spent outdoors are the top things we can do to maintain our health.

“I’m in my 50s and I’ve never had a hot flash,” Harris says, adding that on the rare occasion that she goes out to eat, she almost instantly notices hormonal changes due to the added hormones in the meat and dairy.

You need raw food

Because the liver helps the glands produce the right balance of hormones, fostering a healthy liver is key to overall health—which can also lead to weight loss. When the liver is damaged, it has a hard time breaking down estrogen. While raw foods of all types have their benefits, Dr. Berg especially recommends the cruciferous type, because they can help “reduce environmental estrogens and chemicals that mimic estrogens,” he writes on his website. Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and radishes.

Harris also recommends eating more raw food. “We’ve lost touch with the earth, and the (raw) food,” Harris laments.


Are you the type to get those late-night cravings for sweets or other naughty foods? Start eating more whole foods in their simplest form—including plenty of organic veggies and other raw nuts, seeds and fruits, and chances are you’ll have fewer cravings for that stuff. Why? Because your body will be getting more of the actual nutrients it needs.

All that said, it’s always important to talk to your health care practitioner before beginning a new health regimen—whether it’s for weight loss, improved health outcomes, hormone balancing or anything else.

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