This is the wonderful hormone which tells you have had enough to eat. We all want this hormone! It’s at its highest at night so the body can repair itself without getting hungry. Aren’t our bodies wonderful? So how can we optimise this great hormone? Here are a few ways to normalise leptin
- Eat 2-3 decent meals (don’t snack all day – it’s really the worst thing to do for leptin)
- Eat smaller meals – don’t gorge and stop when you are full
- Never have seconds
- Chew your food very well
- Eat real food, not junk
- Have a high-ish protein breakfast
- Try to eat 2-3 hours prior to bedtime, and never eat after dinner
- Use a smaller plate – subtle trick to get you eating less
- Have more protein at breakfast than at dinner
- Have long periods between meals, and no snacking
Eggs are the best ‘brekkie’! If you are only eating protein such as eggs, you might want to add in some “quick” fibre like soaking some chia seeds (my favourite) for a few minutes and having them with or before your meal. You could also use psyllium husks – this way you get some fibre to slow stomach emptying, fill you and provide the fibre the meal may be lacking without fibrous veggies. This also helps enhance the leptin-insulin signaling response. When you eat, you turn on hormonal switches which send messages to the body. Food is information for the body, not just something to get you to the next meal.
Hormones are little messengers sent to different parts of the body to carry out a specific function. Leptin, a powerful hormone, is made by the body’s white or adipose tissue (fat stores). Our fat is an organ all on it’s own and has an amazing function, it’s not just there to pack the calories away like a drawer. Produced by the fat, leptin travels to the brain where the ‘message’ is delivered as to the state of how much fuel is available to the body, and the rate of metabolism based on the fuel stores. The brain can’t ‘see’ how much fat you have stored for fuel – it relies on leptin to report back on this score. If leptin doesn’t do its job properly, the brain gets a garbled message that fuel stores are low, so the message is then sent out to eat more to replenish these stores. The “leptinometer” as I call it is like a fuel gauge and if the gauge is working properly and is reliable, the message is received and you don’t want to eat any more than you need. Very often overweight people have a malfunctioning “leptinometer” – or it could be broken. More and more food is then needed to satisfy your hunger and cravings.
Adequate amounts of leptin will encourage the body’s metabolism to speed up. Too little, and the body will flip into ‘famine’ mode, slow the metabolic rate and plan to store more fat. Although some people do have a fairly good leptinometer, they will over-ride this and continue eating for various reasons, and this will eventually cause it to malfunction. Sadly the way society is programmed, food is there to be eaten anytime you like, and as much as you like without restraint. Now you know better.
Did You Know?
Inside your belly button are thousands of bacteria that form an ecosystem on the scale of an entire rainforest