Have you ever had trouble sticking to a diet? Do you crave junk food, sweets or snacks (especially in the evening and at night)? Are you overweight?
All of the above can be indicators that you have Leptin resistance.
Leptin is a master hormone in your body, and it control hunger and feelings of satiety. Leptin itelf is secreted by fat tissue (adipose tissue); Typically, but not always, the more overweight you are, the more Leptin you have.
From EBweightloss.com’s article on The Venus Factor, we can read:
“The amount of leptin released, is proportional to the amount of fat you have on your body. Basically: more fat equals more leptin. For practical purposes, we can think of it as a signaling hormone that tells your body “Hey, you’re overweight! Eat less!”, or “You’re too skinny, eat more”.”
Another blogger, Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple writes: “Leptin is the lookout hormone – the gatekeeper of fat metabolism, monitoring how much energy an organism takes in. It surveys and maintains the energy balance in the body, and it regulates hunger via three pathways:
• By counteracting the effects of neuropeptide Y, a potent feeding stimulant secreted by the hypothalamus and certain gut cells.
• By counteracting the effects of anandamide, another feeding stimulant.
• By promoting the production of a-MSH, an appetite suppressant.”
Leptin is directly connected to insulin levels, and today many people are Leptin resistant – which again ties to a number of health problems.
For instance, research has shown that high Leptin levels can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
Research also suggests that Leptin can decrease fertility for women, make you age faster, and be a significant contributor to obesity.
By knowing how to regulate your Leptin levels, you can lose weight and keep it off. This is especially important for women, but also apply to men (but to a lesser degree).
This is one of those things that makes weight loss not just a simple matter of counting calories.
The concept of Leptin is slightly more advanced than what we outlined in the introduction. Yes, as a general rule overweight people have higher Leptin levels – which should signal your body to eat less food, thus normalizing the weight.
So in reality, obesity shouldn’t be a problem, as your body would balance it out by producing more Leptin, decreasing your appetite and decreasing your energy intake.
This article from Huffington post states:
“The problem is not in the production of leptin, but rather, studies show that the majority of overweight individuals who are having difficulty losing weight have a leptin resistance, where the leptin is unable to produce its normal effects to stimulate weight loss. This leptin resistance is sensed as starvation, so multiple mechanisms are activated to increase fat stores, rather than burn excess fat stores. Leptin resistance also stimulates the formation of reverse T3, which blocks the effects of thyroid hormone on metabolism (discussed below).”
It’s now clear how Leptin isues can lead to obesity!
Typical factors that can lead to Leptin resistance
Let’s round off with some tips on what you can do to prevent Leptin resistance. The most common factors leading to Leptin resistance are:
- Fructose consumption (like corn syrup). This is used in several processed products (you’d be amazed at how much of your food is actually corn!).
- High stress levels
- Simple carbs (white bread, pasta etc.). Anything with grains and lectin.
- Not enough sleep
- High insulin levels
It’s a complex issue to fix, but here are some tips:
- Eat no, or little, starches, fructose etc. Basically, eat less processed food, and more “real” food.
- Eat more protein and healthy fats
- Optimize your sleep. Try not to spend time in front of the computer until 1 hour before bedtime.
- Don’t snack. At first, plan all your meals, then you can ease off after a while.
- Try to get more natural sunlight.