Leptin…have you heard of it?
Leptin is a protein produced by fatty tissue and believed to regulate fat storage in the body.
Leptin helps regulate hunger and feelings of satiety, and is also tied to insulin levels-another hormone that can affect weight loss and weight gain.
May people are having trouble losing weight due to leptin resistance. Leptin resistance can occur when too much circulating leptin affects the brain’s sensitivity to it. The resulting condition leads to a lack of leptin’s appetite-regulating effect and is known as leptin resistance. –livestrong.com
Because leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone when it rises, it signals your brain that you are full, so you stop eating. However, if you become leptin resistant, you end up eating more even after you are full. So what causes people to become leptin resistant in the first place?
Dr. Johnson, author of the book, The Fat Switch, says that research supports refined sugar (especially fructose) is raising leptin levels in animals and is decreasing the body’s ability to burn fat.
“When you give fructose to animals, they lose their ability to control their appetite, they eat more, and they exercise less. Fructose looks like it’s playing a direct role in weight gain,” he says.
Fructose has two effects:
1. It blocks the ability to burn fat thus stimulating weight gain.
2. It also changes your body composition to increase body fat even when you are on a caloric restriction.
Ahhhh!!! I bet you are already thinking about cutting the sugar, right? While it may be obvious to cut out the morning Fruit Loops or after dinner ice-cream snack, fructose is also naturally found in fruits. However, fruit has a variety of nutrients and antioxidants, so don’t cut fruit out of your diet just yet. Most fruits (natural fruits-not dried or juiced) have a low amount fructose, around 4-8 grams. Not just eating fruit, but rather eating a lot of fruit could be the issue if you are dealing with leptin resistance.
Dr. Johnson says. “Certain fruits, which we know have relatively low-sugar content and very high vitamin and antioxidant contents, are actually quite healthy. Berries, in particular blueberries, are very, very healthy.
But juices, where you put all the fruit together and you get a lot of sugar in one glass, it’s just too much. When you drink that, you can flood your liver with fructose, and then that will overwhelm the benefits of all the antioxidants. You’ll still get an increased risk for fatty liver, obesity, and diabetes from fruit juice.”
If you’re insulin resistant and obese, it doesn’t take much fructose to activate the processes that will keep you fat. Some of Dr. Johnson’s most recent research shows that the more high-fructose corn syrup you eat, the more you absorb and the more you metabolize it. Thus, eating fruits may be more of an issue if you are insulin resistant, whereas fruit intake is likely safer or even beneficial if you are lean and healthy. –mercola.com
The Difference Between High Fructose Corn Syrup and Table Sugar
Dr. Johnson explains:
“Sucrose is table sugar. It comes from sugar cane and sugar beets. It’s a molecule of glucose and fructose that are bound together in what we call as disaccharide. But basically, the glucose and fructose are bound together. One gram of sucrose is half a gram of fructose.
High-fructose corn syrup is a mixture of fructose and glucose that are mixed freely together. The ratio can vary. Usually, like in soft drinks, the amount of fructose is higher than the amount of glucose. It’s typically 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. A recent study showed that the industry sometimes adds even more fructose in soft drinks; a lot of times it’s 60 percent or 65 percent. It’s really quite a significant amount of more fructose than you see with table sugar.”
“The bottom line is it looks like high-fructose corn syrup is different from sucrose,” he says. “It looks like it is worse. But both of them are major sources of fructose. You don’t really want to switch from high-fructose corn syrup to table sugar; you want to reduce both. But in terms of effects, they are different. I believe high-fructose corn syrup is biologically worse than sugar.”
Leptin resistance isn’t just about fructose. You may also be dealing with this if you have high-stress levels, consume a lot of simple carbs, have high insulin levels, are overeating or even over-exercising, and possibly consuming lectin from cereal grains.
I like these researched tips and links from wellnessmama.com to help improve leptin issues:
- Eating little to no simple starches, refined foods, sugars and fructose
- Consuming a large amount of protein and healthy fats first thing in the morning, as soon after waking as possible. This promotes satiety and gives the body the building blocks to make hormones.
- Be in bed by ten (no excuses) and optimize your sleep!
- Get outside during the day, preferably barefoot on the ground, in mid-day sun with some skin exposed.
- DON’T SNACK!!! When you are constantly eating, even small amounts, during the day it keeps your liver working and doesn’t give hormones a break. Try to space meals at least 4 hours apart and don’t eat for at least 4 hours before bed. This includes drinks with calories but herbal teas, water, coffee or tea without cream or sugar are fine.
- Don’t workout at first. If you are really Leptin resistant, this will just be an additional stress on the body. Let your body heal a little first, then add in the exercise.
- When you do exercise, do only sprints and weight lifting. Walk or swim if you want to but don’t do cardio just for the sake of cardio. It’s just a stress on the body. High intensity and weight lifting, on the other hand, give the hormone benefits of working out without the stress from excess cardio and are great after the first few weeks. Also, workout in the evening, not the morning, to support hormone levels.
- Remove toxins from your life as these are a stress on your body. There will be more specifics on how to accomplish this in the next few weeks, but getting rid of processed foods, commercial deodorants (make your own) and comercial soap (use microfiber) will go a long way!
- Eat (or take) more Omega-3s (fish, grass-fed meats, chia seeds) and minimize your Omega-6 consumption (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc) to get lower inflammation and help support healthy leptin levels.
Here’s to more learning on all things healthy!