It is a hormone produced by your fat cells that wasnít discovered until 1994.† Leptin plays a major role in body weight regulation by signaling your brain (the part called hypothalamus) as to how much fat (adipose) tissue you have.
Since the extra sugar (glucose) you consume that your cells donít take in is turned into fat (triglycerides) when you overeat, both the sugar and the fats that you consume end up at the same storage place – your fat cells.
Leptin plays a role in controlling your hunger mechanism by letting your brain know you ate enough at any given meal to replenish your storage fat and you should feel full.† However, it seems that for overweight people there are so many fat cells signaling the brain at the same time your brain doesnít get the message.
Itís like trying to listen to your car radio while you are in the middle of a traffic jam and every car is blowing its horn.† The noise is so loud and so clamorous that you can no longer distinguish sounds from the car radio.
In the same way, if your brain canít identify signals that youíve taken in enough food, it thinks you are still hungry and you feel starved even when your stomach is full.† Sound familiar?
Pay attention to our past
According to Dr. Ronald Rosedale, over thousands of years, mankind lived on a diet that was 10-30% protein, 20-40% carbohydrates, and about 50% fats.† During that time humans periodically suffered from drought so they needed stores of fat to burn and stay alive when there was nothing to eat.† Thatís why the need for fat was high.
Whoa.† The current government food pyramid places a primary emphasis on carbs and suggests we eat very little fat.† How can a high carb diet lead to weight gain and a high fat diet may not?
Well, in the distant past, all of the carbs we ate came directly from good old Mother Nature as plant foods, and they all had fiber included.† There were no carbs without fiber because they were real live vegetables and fruit that werenít denatured.† Today, think about all the carbs you eat that have been manipulated by commercial food processors so that fiber has been removed (and taste enhanced).
The best examples of carbs without fiber (empty calories) are colas, sodas, and energy drinks.† Another is white bread.† The label on Wonder Breadís Classic White doesnít show any fiber on the ingredient list†at all.
How is it that our ancestors ate so much fat you ask?† Well, the animals they hunted and raised had fat in their meat and their skin, and the same with fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy.† Vegetables such as corn have fat as do many beans.† Fruits such as olives and avocados are loaded with fat.
If early manís diet was high on fat why didnít they get fat?
Food wasnít always convenient.† Our ancestors couldnít get food at a local grocery store, food pantry, filling station, or vending machine.† Those resources didnít exist.† It took an effort (physical activity) to hunt and grow food.
Secondly, their bodies burned fat for fuel.† Since fat was their primary source of calories, thatís what their cells burned as its primary fuel.† Sugar (carbs) was a secondary source.
Since early humans rarely overdosed on carbs, and never empty carbs, their brains paid attention to the leptin signals, and they remained lean and fit.
Leptin and weight loss
From what we have learned, the bottom line for an overweight person is no matter how much you eat, you still feel hungry.† Your brain canít hear any signals that you have eaten enough food.
Also, for many overweight people, no matter how much you exercise, you just canít get rid of that belly fat.† Why not?
Because your cells forgot how to burn fat due to a personal history of consuming a lot of empty carbs.† Empty carbs are those that donít have any fiber.† Mother Nature never created any empty carbs, so they must all come food businesses that tempt us with taste.
The theory is, control leptin, and you control your weight.† The question is how.
It seems that whatís necessary is for your body to learn to burn fat rather than sugar.† Three different books have come up with their approach to utilizing the research on leptin:† The following are descriptions as found at EveryDiet.org.
- The Rosedale diet by Dr. Ron Rosedale explores dietary solutions for correcting leptin imbalances (2004)
- The Leptin Diet, Second edition, by Byron Richards (2006)
- Mastering Leptin by Byron and Mary Richards (2009).† A second book by Byron Richards.
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