Leptin, Diet and Leptin Resistance
What is Leptin and how does it effect weight loss?
Leptin, diet and leptin Resistance.
Hormone levels, especially leptin, play an important role in mediating hunger, regulating food intake, body weight and the assimilation of food.
Leptin is secreted by fat cells. Its primary function is to replenish fat reserves when stored energy runs low. Leptin helps the brain monitor the size of these fat stores and regulate them with appetite and energy expenditure. When leptin levels are low your brain receives a signal that you’re hungry.
Your levels are determined by your calorie intake as well as the percentage of your body fat. When you consume food your leptin levels rise signaling your brain that you’re full. If your body fat is low your leptin level is low, which boosts your appetite, encouraging your body to store more fat.
But if your fat levels are high the brain may become immune to the appetite suppressing signals of leptin. This is called leptin resistance. Leptin resistance is common in people who are obese.
Leptin and Diet
We lose weight by reducing our calorie intake, sometimes drastically. But prolonged calorie restriction causes our levels of leptin to fall. Our bodies go into starvation mode and low leptin levels signal the brain that the body needs food. The body reduces energy expendeture to compensate for the lack of food intake, which in turn lowers our metabolism.
This is where we start having problems losing weight. With thyroid hormones falling, and the hormones cortisol and ghrelin rising, our metabolism begins to conserve energy, causing increased appetite and fat storage. Leptin Resistance.
What is Leptin Resistance?
Leptin resistance describes the condition where the brain stops responding to signals from leptin. Leptin resistance is often associated with weight gain and obesity.
The brain loses sensitivity to leptin due to excessive calorie intake and body fat and you feel hungry all the time, which results in overeating and weight gain.
Even with high blood levels of leptin, the body doesn’t get the satiety signal. The brain goes into starvation mode even though the body is getting too many calories.
Leptin resistance increases appetite, especially for high calorie foods and junk foods. It can also lead to other hormone problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, low testosterone (in men) and other chronic diseases.
How Do You Maintain High Leptin Levels and Still Lose weight?
Start With Your Diet
Eat a balanced diet that includes 40% of your calories from complex carbohydrates, 30% from lean protein and 30% from healthy fats.
Avoid processed carbohydrates. Focus on healthy sources of carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains. Eat lean proteins and avoid fatty cuts of meat. Choose healthy fats rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like fish, olives, avocados and nuts.
Don’t starve yourself! Vary your calorie intake day to day with the goal of lowering your overall calorie intake week to week.
Eat foods that alleviate leptin resistance like fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and calm inflammation.
You shouldn’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Avoid going for long periods of time without eating. Try to eat every 3-4 hours when awake.
Consume 1000-4000 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids a day. Four ounces of salmon offers about 2000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not a fan of salmon you can take a high quality supplement to get the Omega 3 you need.
Excess body fat is the most common cause of inflammation and inflammation causes leptin resistance by dulling the brain’s receptors. Reduce body fat and you will also reduce inflammation. Avoid foods high in fat, processed foods and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to leptin resistance.
Including anti-inflammatory herbs and spices (such as turmeric, ginger, nutmeg and rosemary) in your diet will also help reduce inflammation.
Avoid sugar. Sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup, has been found to cause leptin resistance leading to weight gain and obesity.
Form Healthy Habits
Exercise daily. Aim for an hour a day. The combination of regular exercise and healthy eating is key to and losing weight and managing leptin levels.
Reduce stress to help control levels of cortisol and regulate leptin.
Get enough sleep. You need 6-8 hours of sleep each night for leptin to work properly.
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!