Mainstream medicine tells you that the only way to drop weight is to cut your calories by eating low-fat food.
Yet, despite eating less fat, more Americans are fat today than at any time in history.
But researchers discovered a hormone that can help us unlock the mystery of weight gain – and weight reduction.
The discovery is important. It’s a hormone called leptin.
Leptin is a hormone made from fat cells, and tells your brain how much energy you have and how to use it. When you have enough, leptin tells your brain to stop eating and start melting fat. When your energy is low, leptin tells your brain to increase your appetite, so you’ll start eating.
More new research shows that you can become “leptin resistant” in the same way you can become insulin resistant.(1) When your cells can no longer hear or understand the messages coming from hormones, we say they are resistant.
This happens when too much of the hormone is in the bloodstream for an extended period. In fact, leptin resistance can lead to insulin resistance. This in turn, puts you at risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
When you eat foods that spike your blood sugar, both insulin and leptin get thrown out of balance. High blood sugar will trigger a surge of insulin. When that sugar is metabolized in your fat cells, those fat cells release a surge of leptin.
Like “crying wolf,” if this surge happens too often, the cells become resistant to leptin’s message. As a result, your brain never gets the message that you have enough energy stores to melt fat or control your appetite.
In addition to weight regulation, leptin plays a pivotal role in controlling your brain’s hypothalamus. This in turn regulates your “autonomic” functions – the ones that happen without you having to think about them.
- Body temperature
- Heart rate
- Stress response
- Fat melting and storage
- Reproductive behavior
- Bone growth and blood sugar levels
When you realize there’s so much more to this pathology than just weight gain, it’s no wonder weight gain is associated with so many chronic diseases.
Easy Ways to Balance Leptin and Drop Weight
Fortunately, there are simple ways of restoring balance. A study from a university in Canada shows that exercise and supplementing with fish oil can help your body become sensitive to leptin.(1)
Fish oil puts back essential omega-3 fatty acids into your system. And any amount of exercise seems to help with leptin resistance. At my clinic, we use my PACE program to gradually recondition your exercise capacity. You can do it in as little as 12 minutes a day.
Here’s another simple tip. High Fructose Corn Syrup is one of the leading culprits behind leptin and insulin resistance.(2) It tells your brain to eat more and to build more fat. Think twice before you drink your next soda…
1. Dyck D., “Leptin Sensitivity in Skeletal Muscle Is Modulated by Diet and Exercise,” Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 2005; Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 189-194.
2. Shapiro, Alexandra, Mu, Wei, Roncal, Carlos, et al, “Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain…” Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. August 2008; 295: R1370–R1375
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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