Many people falsely believe that weight gain and weight loss is all about calories and willpower, however, modern obesity research disagrees… and scientists are increasingly pointing their fingers at a hormone called leptin, and by fixing it you can easily and effortlessly lose 15 pounds.
Being resistant to this hormone’s effects (called leptin resistance) is now believed to be the leading driver of fat gain in humans and being able to control it is key in losing weight easily.
It is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone.”
Leptin’s primary target is in the brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus.
Leptin is supposed to tell the brain that we have enough fat stored, that we don’t need to eat, and that we can burn calories at a normal rate.
It also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity, brain function and others.
However, leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy balance… the amount of calories we eat and expend, and how much fat we store on our bodies.
The leptin system evolved to keep us from starving or overeating, both of which would have made us less likely to survive in the natural environment.
These days, leptin is very effective at keeping us from starving. But something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating.
The way leptin works is relatively simple…
This hormone is produced by your body’s fat cells. The more body fat you carry, the more leptin your body will produce.
Leptin is carried by the bloodstream and into the brain, where it sends a signal to the hypothalamus… the brain area that controls when and how much we eat.
The fat cells use leptin to “tell” the brain how much body fat they carry. Lots of leptin tells the brain that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels of leptin tell the brain that fat stores are low and that we are at risk of starvation.
This schematic shows how leptin is supposed to work:
People who are overweight have a lot of body fat in their fat cells.
Because fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size, obese and overweight people also have very high levels of leptin.
Given the way leptin is supposed to work, these people shouldn’t be eating… their brain should know that they have plenty of energy stored.
However… the problem is that the leptin signal isn’t working. There’s a whole ton of leptin floating around, but the brain doesn’t “see” that it is there.
This condition is known as leptin resistance. It is now believed to be the main biological abnormality in human obesity.
When the brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it erroneously thinks that the body is starving, even though it has more than enough energy stored.
This makes the brain change our physiology and behavior in order to regain the fat that the brain thinks we’re missing.
In this way… eating more and exercising less is not the cause of weight gain, it is the consequence of leptin resistance, a hormonal defect.
For the great majority of people, trying to exert cognitive inhibition (willpower) over the leptin-driven starvation signal is simply impossible.
Most “diets” don’t provide good long-term results. This is a well-known problem in weight loss studies.
Diets are so ineffective that whenever someone goes from obese to thin, it is seen as newsworthy material.
The truth is… when it comes to losing weight, long-term success is the exception, NOT the rule.
There are many possible reasons for this, but the research is showing that leptin may have a lot to do with it.
Losing weight reduces fat mass, which leads to a significant reduction in leptin levels, but the brain doesn’t necessarily reverse its leptin resistance.
When leptin goes down, this leads to hunger, increased appetite, reduced motivation to exercise and decreased amount of calories burned at rest – a very slow metabolism.
Basically, the reduced leptin makes the brain think it is starving… so it initiates all sorts of powerful mechanisms to regain that lost body fat, erroneously thinking that it is protecting us from starvation.
In other words, the brain actively defends the higher amount of fat mass, using strong biochemical forces that compel us to eat back the lost weight.
The majority of dieters will be familiar with this… weight loss is often easy in the beginning, especially when motivation is high, but very soon hunger, cravings and a reduced desire for exercise set in.
This is the main reason so many people “yo-yo” diet… they lose a significant amount of weight, only to gain it back (and then some).
According to Dr. Guyenet, several cellular mechanisms behind leptin resistance have been identified.
Pretty much all of these factors are increased in obesity… so this may form a vicious cycle where people get fatter and increasingly more leptin resistant over time.
The best way to know if you are leptin resistant, is to look in the mirror.
If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area, then you are almost certainly leptin resistant.
A key to preventing (or reversing) leptin resistance, is reducing diet- induced inflammation.
There are several things you can do:
Any of these look familiar? These happen to be many of the same things we generally associate with good health.
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to do this. Eating real food, maintaining a healthy gut, exercising, sleeping well, etc… these are all lifelong endeavors that require a drastic shift in lifestyle.
My name is John Barban and I created a 30 days diet and exercise plan designed especially for you to reverse your leptin resistance.
In fact, I have even created a video in which I share exactly what you must do over the next 30 days to reverse your leptin resistance and to lose at least 15 pounds.
And because you read my article all the way to the end, you can watch my video for free. Just click the Link Below!