Leptin: All About the Weight Loss Hormone You Haven’t Heard About

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Did you know the body has its own natural defense against weight gain? And that if you’re able to maximize this hormone, you can achieve a slender frame naturally and for the long term? This hormone is called leptin. Ironically, leptin is produced by fat cells. It works to control the body’s metabolic rate, hunger and energy expenditure.

To understand how leptin contributes to weight loss, you need to know how the hormone contributes to certain body processes.

Leptin is controlled by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is made up of complex leptin receptors, which regulate the level of this hormone in the body. When the leptin level in the body increases, the receptors will signal the brain to boost the feeling of satiety. Hence, the brain signals the body to stop eating. When this happens, the brain stops the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. When the body is full, according to the brain, the metabolic rate kick starts. Consequently, when the body is not full, the metabolic rate slows down.

Essentially, by boosting the leptin level in the body, your metabolic rate works at its peak. And this is the secret behind the weight loss benefits of leptin. If you are able to control the leptin level in the body, you can control the amount of fat you can burn.

But while leptin can help you lose weight, it can also lead to leptin resistance. This condition occurs when the body no longer respond to leptin like it used to. When the body becomes more resistant to leptin, it can no longer burn as much fat as it used to. To avoid leptin resistance, you have to keep the hormone level balanced. Certain types of foods, lifestyle habits, and health issues could also cause leptin desensitization.

Causes of Leptin Resistance

Diet Rich in Fish

Research found that a diet rich in fish is linked to lower leptin levels. The study, which was published in the journal Circulation, suggests that various types of fats may affect the leptin level in the body.

Low-Carb Diet

A diet low in carbohydrates is also linked to lower levels of leptin in the body. This was the findings of a research published on the journal Obesity.

Fatty Diet

In another study published in the Obesity journal, a diet rich in animal fat is linked to incidence of leptin resistance. Triglycerides – which are the main component of animal fat – appear to increase the desensitization in leptin in a lab test. The findings were also published on the journal Diabetes in 2004.

How to Prevent Leptin Resistance

Cut Back on Empty Calories

A diet rich in sugar or empty calories can increase the likelihood of leptin resistance. As such, minimize your consumption of high sugar foods. You want to eliminate processed foods that contain sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose. Avoid corn syrup, honey or agave nectar too.

Cut Back on Grains

Grains contain glucose, which can increase the risk of leptin resistance. However, wholesome grains are a part of a healthy diet so do not shun this food group completely. We recommend opting for healthy grains such as buckwheat, flax, and quinoa.

Exercise Regularly

Getting regular exercise is one way to boost leptin in the body! Working out enhances the weight loss benefits of this hormone too minimizing the occurrence of leptin resistance.

Get Enough Sleep

Did you know sleep can speed up your metabolic rate? That’s right, sleeping at least 8 hours every night will increase the leptin level in the body. Resting promotes healing and reduce damaged tissues. All these can contribute to normal leptin level in the body.


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