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Breaking the Food Seduction, chapter 8

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Chapter 8: Step 3: Appetite-Taming Leptin

Leptin is important for controlling the appetite. It is made by fat cells and its name comes from the Greek word ‘leptos’, which means “thin”. Fat cells release leptin when they sense that there is more than enough nourishment coming into the body.

There are two jobs of leptin:
1. travel to brain to reduce appetite
2. Boost metabolism, how quickly your body burns calories.

When you go on a low calorie diet, your body senses you are not getting enough calories and will slow down the production of leptin in order for you to have an increase of appetite so you will eat more.

Another way to interfere with leptin production is to eat high fat foods. An example is the Pima population in southwest US. This group of people has received federal food subsidiaries consisting of cheese, meat, and other fatty foods and have health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension. This group has less leptin in their bloodstream that those in Mexico that eat a diet consisting of corn and beans.

It is believed that a low-fat plant-based diet will keep leptin levels up, while meats and cheese will most likely reduce the leptin production. It is also believed that low-fat foods also increase leptin’s ability to do its work.

Boosting Leptin

The amount of leptin in one’s blood varies from person to person and can change from day to day depending on what is eaten. As of yet, there is no idea what amount is considered “normal”.

You can maximize leptin’s appetite-cutting effect by:
1. Use the Rule of Ten – that is, make sure you are eating enough calories by taking your ideal body weight and multiply that by 10. This will give you the minimum calories to eat each day. You can eat more than that, but it is important to make sure you eat the minimum amount of calories to keep your leptin system working at its best ability to control your appetite.

If you eat less than the minimum amount of calories you need over a period of time, you can reduce the production of leptin and your metabolism may slow down to the point where you cannot burn calories as effectively.

The book gives an example of 4 men and 4 women who sealed themselves in capsule for 2 years in order to have a self-contained environment. Toward the end food was running out and they ate less and lost weight. Afterwards, they gained all the weight lost back and since then have difficulty burning calories.

If I recall, they also discovered this to be the same with some of those Biggest Losers contestants who have regained their weight after their season on the TV show.

2. Use low-fat foods to boost leptin’s power. This is as simple as making switches from meat dishes to vegetable based dishes. Instead of a meat pasta sauce, have a chunky vegetable marinara sauce, switch clam chowder for a minestrone soup, …

3. Exercise makes your body respond better to leptin. It is good to know that this does not mean you need to start training for a marathon, but just making it a point to go for a 30 minute brisk walk each day.

As you begin to follow the rule of ten, eat low-fat foods and begin an exercise routine, be patient with yourself as it may take some time before your appetite control returns back to where it should be.
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