The 'Hormone Diet' Claims To Help You Kick Cravings And Lose Weight, But Is It Anything New?

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 23: Various fruit and vegetables on the shelves at a local supermarket. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)
Source: Michael Bradley/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Another day, another diet. This time, we're being told to follow the hormone diet to lose weight, curb cravings, boost energy, and slow aging. The diet is being promoted via a just-released book called Your Hormone Doctor, which was authored by a journalist, a spa owner/Pilates instructor, and a medical doctor. They argue that most people currently eat diets that throw their hormones out of balance to many ill effects, including decreased libido, excessive appetite, low energy, weight gain, and more. 

According to the hormone diet authors:

Cutting out or reducing sugar and refined carbs will keep insulin levels low and steady, which helps prevent weight gain. Good fats can reduce cortisol and protein increases your "fullness" hormones. But of course diet on its own is never the sole answer to getting a fit and lean body. Exercise, sleep, and stress reduction all play a vital role in a lean lifestyle in mid-life and beyond.

In other words, their recommendations are...basically the same as everyone else's. While it may be true that sugar and carbs mess with your hormones, and that good fats help to stabilize them, these are entirely unsurprising and non-novel suggestions. Anyways, most people interested in diets aren't very scientifically literate and can't tell well-supported scientific claims from shoddy ones. Dieters just want a plan that works.

So I can't help but feel skeptical about this diet — its proponents' repeated use of the term "hormone" makes me suspicious they're just trying to drum up gratuitous scientific credibility for their diet, as it competes with others for attention and book sales. But since all of their concrete advice is pretty much unobjectionable, you could do much worse in your choice of fad diet.  If you want to give the basics of the hormone diet a spin, follow these guidelines:

  1. Eat more protein
  2. Cut carbs, especially refined flours and sugars
  3. Drink plenty of water 
  4. Eat fruit before or after, but not with, your meals
  5. Eat fat, especially with fibrous vegetables, to keep you feeling full 
  6. Wait 20 minutes before you take second helpings to allow your brain to register fullness
  7. Drink all the plain tea and coffee you want – but pass on added sugar and milk
  8. Eat cereal (bran or oat) but only in the morning, to aid digestion
  9. Eat small amounts often, but not late at night

Let us know if it works!


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