Commonly known as the ‘satiety hormone’, Leptin is the primary reason for food cravings, overeating and heart disease. Leptin is a protein produced by dynamic fat cells that helps your body to control appetite and metabolism. It allows the fat cells to communicate with your brain, telling your brain that the body has enough fat – but can also send mixed messages as it doesn’t know how to tell the brain when there’s too much!
Hormones are responsible for how your body communicates with its various organs and systems. They are a key factor on how your functions are controlled. Leptin receptors are found throughout the entire body, but their main location is the appetite control centre – located in the brain. When Leptin binds with the brains receptors, it shuts down appetite and speeds up metabolism.
Leptin can be your best friend but also your worst enemy – it is responsible for body weight, energy balance, metabolism, appetite, food cravings, obsession with food and heart disease. Weight gain can often be the result of Leptin resistance, particularly for those suffering obesity. As a person gains weight, Leptin levels increase, which extinguishes appetite control and disrupts metabolism. Our body’s natural response to hormone resistance is to produce excess. Leptin resistance and deficiency can both result in obesity because the brain thinks the body is starving, however Leptin deficiency is extremely rare. Insulin resistance and Leptin resistance usually come hand in hand – a blood test from your GP can assist in getting more information on these levels.
In order to lose weight permanently, the Leptin hormone must function properly. Improving your diet is the simplest way to focus on boosting Leptin by increasing production and alleviating resistance.
Here are our top tips for gaining control of Leptin through diet:
· Avoid unnecessary snacking – it can be way too easy to lose track of what we consume if we are continuously snacking! Diet sodas and coffees tend to make you feel hungrier than you actually are – chances are you’re thirsty for water rather than actually hungry!
· Eat smaller meals – larger meals can provide too much energy that can store as fat, this can lead to increased satiety resistance (takes longer to feel full). Eating slow and chewing each mouthful will help you to feel satisfied sooner.
· Eat a high protein breakfast – breakfast is crucial! There are many long-term benefits throughout the day when it is consumed – waking up body systems, preparing to ingest other foods for the day, etc.
· Reduce carbohydrates – limit these to vegetables, some fruits, cottage cheese, butter and yoghurt for dairy. Minimise grain sources and avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners (these interfere with brain function!).
· Partake in moderate exercise – consistency is better than intensity, start slow and increase efforts gradually. This turns on our genes and facilitates healthy Leptin function and metabolism.
The benefits of healthy functioning Leptin include not being hungry all of the time, improvement in digestion, no more need for unnecessary snacking, and weight loss. Managing meals in a healthy and smart way to improve your Leptin function is a fail-proof way to lose weight and regulate your metabolism.