Leptin is a hormone secreted by the fat cells. If the body begins to accumulate too much fat, more leptin is released. Why? It’s supposed to tell your brain to decrease your appetite and eat less. Kinda like a self-regulating mechanism when you start to gain weight. It’s telling you, “Whoa. Slow down, don’t eat so much. You’re gaining too much fat.”
Of course this is all dependent on the fact that your body’s leptin signaling is healthy and on track. If your leptin signaling, release and binding is off kilter, that’s called “leptin resistance.” Basically, your fat cells continue to release leptin into the bloodstream, but it still doesn’t send appetite signals. You’ve lost that self-regulating appetite control. You still eat and feel hungry. This is especially true if you are already overweight. Research also shows that an excess amount of high fructose corn syrup and processed carbs leads to leptin resistance. Therefore, the more junk you eat, the more your body is NOT satisfied, and the more your leptin signaling gets destroyed.
Leptin levels are also impacted by stress levels, poor sleep, overeating, high insulin levels (see the vicious cycle here?), and excessive exercise.
So what can you do about it?
- Limit processed carbs.
- Get enough protein and good fats.
- Limit grazing all day. Meals and snacks are fine, but constant grazing every hour never gives your hormones a break from being on overdrive.
- Take note of your exercise regimen. Too much cardio (just to burn calories) will have a negative effect.
A healthy metabolism means that leptin is doing his job. Give your body the nutrition it needs so that every hormone function runs properly.