The Most Important Hormone In Your Body (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series on Leptin last week we discussed what leptin is and how your body will adjust the metabolic rate and endocrine function based on the amount of leptin you have circulating.

Leptin is used to to communicate to your brain how much body fat you have, and the amount of food you are consuming. You brain uses this message from leptin to adjust the metabolic rate.

However a problem arises when the brain can no longer receive the signal from leptin and assumes that we are in a famine or have no fat stores on the body. When the brain no longer recognizes the signal from leptin this is known as leptin resistance.

In Part 2 this week we are going to be looking at the signs of leptin resistance you may have but not recognize, the common causes of leptin resistance and in common Eat To Evolve fashion how you can avoid or reverse your leptin resistance.


Common Signs of Leptin Resistance

  • Being very overweight or Obese

  • The need to constantly snack between meals

  • Overeating at night time

  • Unexplained fat gain

  • Unusual eating pattern in response to hunger

  • Being very underweight

  • Intense carbohydrate cravings at night time

  • Not being hungry for or frequently skipping breakfast


What Causes Leptin Resistance ?

  • Inflammation in the hypothalamus: Lots of sugar and fat at the same time in the diet can create an inflammatory cascade that negatively impacts the hypothalamus. The exact mechanism are not quite understood yet but the link has been established in this study.

  • Too much of the stress: Adrenaline mobilizes body fat to be used as energy, however with chronic exposure fat cells become desensitized to adrenaline. The body will release extra adrenaline to try to get the job done only making the situation worse, and suppressing leptin secretion. As a result the body will not receive the signal from leptin and increase appetite to compensate.

  • A history of an eating disorder: The binge and purge cycles that are common in an eating disorder can cause leptin resistance because the restriction of food and dramatic weight loss reduces leptin and the overfeeding period causes a flood of leptin.

  • Chronic overeating and obesity

  • Too many free fatty acids in the blood: This can stem from too much starch and fat consumption at once, the mitochondria will not able to efficiently burn those fuels together.

  • Insulin Resistance: High levels of insulin block leptin’s signaling to the brain, and with insulin resistance there is an increased amount of insulin circulating.

  • Too much fructose in the diet: Fructose makes the hypothalamus in our brain resistant the signal leptin is sending, and high triglycerides from excessive fructose intake stop leptin from passing to the brain.

  • Lectin Consumption: specific lectins in wheat,rye and barley can bind to the leptin receptors, and prevent leptin from binding causing the necessary effects.

  • Sleep Deprivation: Sleep deprivation increases both cortisol and insulin resistance both of which are factors implicated above in leptin resistance, but has been linked directly to leptin resistance in this study

  • Chronic and severe calorie restriction: When someone restricts calories for too long it inhibits the secretion of leptin quicker than could be done by solely losing body fat. As a result the body will increase appetite only making it more difficult to eat less and get lean.


How To Reverse/ Avoid Leptin Resistance

  • Keep a set sleep schedule ( 7-9 hours)

  • Cut out sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup

  • Don’t consume sugar and fats together in large quantities ( sorry doughnuts!)

  • Reduce inflammation from diet (allergic foods, vegetable oil, sugar)  

  • Engage in a daily stress management ( meditation, listening to music, yoga class or reading a book)

  • Avoid grains that contain lectins (wheat, rye, barley)

  • Lift heavy weights, and do some high intensity work ( don’t overdo the high intensity work though)

  • If you are dieting eat more calories, carbs and less fat one day a week. These extra carbs and calories elevate leptin, and keep the metabolic rate from dropping.

  • Stick to three square meals a day, avoid snacking.

  • Increase intake of Omega-3 rich foods to lower inflammation.

  • Eat a breakfast that is protein and fat centric. 2-3 eggs scrambled with vegetables cooked in butter or coconut oil

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These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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