Have you ever wondered why, after months of dieting and you finally manage to lose a few pounds, having that one well deserved meal puts it all back? WHY?????

Body weight is regulated by a complex system. Have you ever heard of- leptin and Gherlin? These two hormones seem to play an important role in the regulation of food intake and body weight. Both of these hormones originate in the body and signal through different pathways to the brain. So, what’s the deal with how to think about Leptin and Gherlin for weight management? Let’s look at the details.

Leptin and Gherlin for Weight Management

Leptin is a hormone that helps manage appetite. The word leptin comes from the Greek word leptos, meaning “thin.” It is produced by the fat cells in your body, as well as cells in the small intestine. It works by telling your brain how much you have in your fat reserves. Leptin’s job is to signal your brain when you’re full, triggering you to stop eating. Leptin controls your metabolism, hunger, and energy expenditure. 

Ghrelin is a hormone produced and released mainly by the stomach, with small amounts also released by the small intestinepancreas and brain. It is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. In addition, it affects your sleep/wake cycle, reward-seeking behavior, taste sensation and carbohydrate metabolism. Ghrelin also stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, which, unlike ghrelin itself, breaks down fat tissue and causes the build-up of muscle.

Regardless of how much body fat you have, ghrelin levels increase and make you hungry when you start a diet. This is a natural response by your body, which is just trying to protect you from starvation. During a diet, your appetite increases and your levels of  leptin, the “fullness hormone,” go down. Your metabolic rate also tends to decrease during a diet, especially when you restrict calories for long periods of time .These trends suggest that the longer you diet — and the more body fat and muscle mass you lose — the higher your levels will rise.

This makes you hungrier, so it becomes much harder to maintain your new weight.

These adaptations can make it significantly harder to lose weight and keep it off. Your hormones and metabolism adjust to try to regain all the weight you lost. We can take action to stop these trends in their tracks, but it requires more work than taking a pill.  

Why can’t we just ingest Leptin to lose weight?

The first problem is the fact that Leptin, a polypeptide, unfortunately cannot be taken orally. Further, the idea of ingesting leptin is not that simple. It’s not just the amount of leptin in our body which is important. Our body cells sensitivity to leptin is also essential to consider. In fact, there are high levels of leptin present in overweight people, indicating leptin resistance. If too much leptin builds up in your blood, you may develop leptin resistance. When this occurs, the leptin in your body may not do its job effectively, resulting in weight gain.

The exact cause of leptin resistance is unknown, but obesity and stress may play a role. Cortisol, a hormone that’s released when you’re under stress, may make your brain less receptive to leptin and cause you to overeat. It is nature’s own way to manage stressful situations – for example, when we lose body fat during sickness, leptin mechanism helps regain our body fat. The good news is there are natural ways to increase leptin sensitivity, which is a solution to the problem.

Leptin Tips for Weight Management

1. Fiber rich diet

Increase your daily dietary fiber consumption by eating foods such as whole grains, legumes, and oatmeal. Fiber gives you a feeling of fullness, causing your intestinal tract to send a signal to your brain to release more leptin.

2. Decrease or stop fructose consumption

Fructose inhibits your leptin receptors, especially high-fructose corn syrup. The main dietary culprits are processed goods because fructose is inexpensive and often used in sodas, cookies, and other sweet snacks. The easiest way to cut fructose from your diet is to eat whole foods – foods that most closely resemble their natural state.

3. Consume complex carbohydrates

Say no to simple carbs (refined, sugary, processed, and generally white) because they spike your insulin levels, which leads to insulin resistance and disrupts your leptin production. Increase your daily consumption of complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. They are great sources of fiber and water, and eating more will tell your brain that you are full without a high calorie intake. You can also include whole oats and pastas, quinoa, and brown rice in moderation.

4. Eat protein for breakfast

Protein will not only fuel your body for the day by making you feel fuller, it will also kick-start your leptin levels. Try not to rely too heavily on cereals because they contain lectin and bind to your leptin receptors, thereby hampering leptin’s ability to do its job.

5. Take omega-3

Increase your omega-3 essential fatty acid consumption either through supplements or by eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines. Omega-3 can help increase leptin levels by supporting a healthy inflammatory response. It also increases your body’s sensitivity to leptin, making it more receptive.

6. Avoid severe calorie restriction

If you’re not getting enough nutrients, your body will start shutting down and disrupt your hormone production. Your metabolism will slow, as will your production of leptin.

7. Perform H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training)

This will stimulate large secretions of human growth hormone, which boosts fat-burning mechanisms and helps regulate leptin levels.

8. Get more sleep

If you do not get enough rest, your body will make less leptin and more ghrelin (the hormone that tells your body you’re hungry). Without enough rest your body starts producing ghrelin and not producing leptin.

Foods that Decrease Leptin Sensitivity

eating excessive carbohydrates and snacking may be your biggest hurdles to re-establishing leptin sensitivity. High carbohydrate foods that contain simple starches like white flour and potatoes, along with highly processed foods containing sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, all contribute to decreased leptin sensitivity. Eating large meals or eating too frequently can also lead to a decrease in leptin sensitivity.