When we think about hormones and weight gain/loss, we generally relate to ‘Insulin’ – think diabetes!
As we have covered in recent videos, the pancreas secretes Insulin when we eat food, increasing with the glycemic load placed on the body – the more carbohydrate loaded the food, the more insulin is produced to shuttle the energy into cells – that energy not utilised in stored for use later in the form of fat.
There is another hormone that is just as crucial to weight loss and weight gain known as Leptin.
Leptin is our satiety hormone!
Leptin (from the Greek word ‘leptos’ meaning thin) is a hormone released from fat cells in adipose tissue that signals to the brain to reduce food intake and energy expenditure – this allows your body to use the energy from stored fat.
In essence, when you lose weight and get leaner as a healthy individual, your leptin level gets lower, increasing your appetite which makes burning fat and losing weight more difficult. The body views a lack of fat storage as a threat to its on-going survival so tends to down regulate in a bid to conserve energy – this means keeping your fat stores intact.
The amount of leptin released is directly related to the amount of stored body fat, the more fat one has, the more leptin is circulating within the blood. Leptin will increase as body fat increases and decreases as body fat reduces over time.]
In an overweight individual, this increased level in the blood can actually cause the person to become Leptin resistant! In the same way someone can become insulin resistant ... it's the body protecting itself. This means the body doesn't receive a strong signal of satiety and it take more and more leptin to reach satiety. Making weight-loss even harder with an increased appetite! A spiral we want to avoid.
Fortunately, by using taking an ancestral approach to diet and exercise principles -
Cleaning up your diet by eliminating refined foods, eating whole foods, and consuming the correct ratios of fats, protein and carbohydrates (see previous post on macronutrients) and including our exercise plan on a regular basis you can regulate these hormonal issues, lose weight sustainably and burn off that unwanted fat.
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