The Leptin Diet: What is it? Is it Healthy?

What is leptin and what does it do?

Leptin, named after the Greek word for ‘thin’, is a hormone present in the body, responsible for inhibiting hunger. Working in tandem with the hormone Ghrelin, the distribution of energy and regulation of appetite is achieved in a regular diet.

Leptin can be bought as a supplement in pill, spray and capsule form. This is in the attempt to promote appetite suppression. It has not been proven that adding aditional leptin to the body actually provides any appetite suppression.

By acting on receptors in the brain this hormone inhibits hunger cravings and helps the body regulate its energy. The Leptin hormone is counteracted by the hormone ‘Ghrelin’. Ghrelin produces the feeling of hunger and produces cravings, it also aids in the distribution of energy and energy consumption around the body.

Together these two hormones work together to create a balance of energy in the body by ensuring a correct intake of foods is observed.

grehlin leptin diet
Grehlin and leptin hormones regulate the body’s appetite

In a few people, such as people suffering from obesity, a reduced sensitivity to Leptin is observed. This results in an inability to satisfy hunger pangs. It also causes the brain to send signals to continue to eat despite energy levels being completely filled.

This excess of energy where the body in actual fact does not need it results in fat building up. This in turn blocks more Leptin receptors and causes further weakening to the Leptin effect.

In obese people, a higher level of Leptin has been observed. This is thought to be due to the higher levels of body fat.1 This can make dieting especially hard because there is a great reduction in the effectiveness of leptin sending much higher feelings of huger to the brain and body.

What is the Leptin diet?

Leptin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that helps to curb the appetite. By taking advantage of this hormone, understanding it and using it to the bodies advantage it is possible to start to lose weight. The leptin diet intends to use the bodies natural resources to not only help it lose weight but continue to be naturally inclined to stay living a healthier lifestyle.

Many peoples lifestyles either make it hard to eat as the body naturally would or simply haven’t ever been in the habit of doing so. By following the ideals and rules of the Leptin diet it becomes habit to observe an eating pattern that plays to the bodies natural advantage.

The leptin diet focusses on the idea of eating three healthy and balanced meals a day at least five hours apart each and never eating later than three hours before you go to bed.

The meals should be well spaced out and contain everything you need for a healthy lifestyle. Here we will list the five major points of this diet.

1. Never Eat Between Meals

Rather than snacking throughout the day, eating little and often or starving yourself, this diet recommends three meals a day.

Stopping the habit of snacking in between meals is one of the core ideals of this diet. The Ghrelin signals from your brain will encourage you to grab a little something to eat or have a small snack to curb the cravings felt between meals.

By ignoring these signals the body is able to take the energy from stores already in the body. The Leptin is tells the body, via receptors in the brain, to take on more energy but not from a new food source.

You already have the energy in the body from the meal eaten earlier in the day. When snacking, a meal eaten previously is bypassed and instead is turned into fat stores. When the urge to snack is resisted the energy is taken from old stores and aids in burning up fat stores and staying slim.

This in turn allows the body to start to recognise and work with the Leptin hormone to suppress cravings.

2. Do Not Eat After Dinner

Not eating after the last meal of the day and leaving at least three hours between the last meal and going to bed are essential to this diet. Leptin works at its peak in the evening preparing the body for the repairs it will do during the nights sleep.

Cravings will of course be highest at this time but satiating them with trips to the kitchen will only ensure that whilst sleeping fats are stored and the Leptins will not do their job as they are supposed to.

3. Eat Smaller Meals

Rather than eating until completely full, only eat until almost full. Eating slowly and not until completely full and bloated will allow the body to catch up with the food that has been consumed already.

it usually takes 10 to 20 minutes for the body to register what has been eaten. By over filling signals to the brain are constantly telling the body that more is needed. Eating slowly and allowing your body’s signals to register the intake, satisfaction will be found with less and slowly train the hormone levels to stop craving so much.

It is easy learn what the body’s portion sizes should be and abide by this rather than just eating until completely full. The Leptins in the body will be able to respond in time to help suppress any further need to eat. The feeling of fullness will be felt when waiting until the body is able to respond accordingly.

4. Eat A Protein Rich Breakfast

Studies suggest that eating a breakfast rich in proteins rather than carbohydrates will keep the bodies metabolism burning calories up to 30% more efficiently for up to twelve hours after the first meal of the day.

This is a huge step up from the maximum of 4% that would normally be gained from a carbohydrate rich breakfast. Try to stay away from breads, cereals, juices and pancakes and go more for eggs, peanut butter, yoghurt and cottage cheese.

A protein rich breakfast will set the body up with a wonderful store of energy throughout the day. There will be a much lower inclination to snack if the body has all the energy it needs and the mid morning dip will not be so obvious or even present at all. Waiting five hours for lunch will not be a problem.

A protein rich breakfast doesn’t have to be boring either, there are a huge selection of delicious meals that can be prepared and enjoyed that will leave the mind and body feeling great for ages.

5. Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake

Of course, not eating any carbohydrates would not be a good idea at all but reducing the amount taken in is not a bad thing. Carbohydrates benefit the body in a multitude of ways ranging from releasing the growth hormone to thyroid activation. However denying the body of all carbohydrates would have some very adverse effects.

A lot of people can benefit from a cutback in their intake though. Consuming too many carbohydrates means that the body no longer takes energy from the stored supply in the body and instead only takes in what is eaten when snacking or over eating resulting in the excess being turned to fat.

Taking into account what we mentioned before about only eating until almost full, a good meal should contain fifty percent protein and fifty percent carbohydrate. This way it can be insured a balanced amount of both is taken in and over eating is not a problem.

Sample leptin diet

Breakfast

Poached Egg on a bed of Kale and Spinach.
This is a great protein rich breakfast to give that base of energy in the morning that will last all the way through the day. The Kale and Spinach are a great source of vitamins also.

Lunch

Boiled Chicken with Salad Leaves, Sweetcorn and Beetroot.
Oil Dressing.
Boiled white meat provides a tasty and protein rich middle of the day boost to keep energy levels up. Not starchy vegetables provide a bit of extra flavour and fibre to keep the metabolism going.

Dinner

Steamed Lemon Salmon with Brown Rice.
Fruit and Yoghurt for Dessert.
Salmon is rich in so many great nutrients and vitamins and is sure to give the feeling of being full along with a healthy portion of brown rice as the extra fibre boost before settling down after the day.

A healthy portion of fruit and yoghurt will knock back and sugar craving that come along with this diet also.

Is the leptin diet healthy/safe?

The leptin diet does not play on overfeeding on certain foods, starving yourself or relying on strange supplements as many others do. Instead, by working with the body’s natural habits and hormones, a new cleaner and healthier balance is found.

This diet really revolves around working alongside the hormones already in place. Instead of blindly snacking whenever the slightest cravings are felt this diet encourages the understanding of what is actually going on when the body starts to want food.

By understanding, a level of control can be regained. As the diet is followed, less craving will be felt as a healthier eating pattern is observed. The constant rigorous training of the body will allow the hormone levels to even out and certain triggers in the previous lifestyle will be forgotten.

Leptin will be allowed to help suppress cravings, redirect energy supplies to stores already in the body and keep meal portions to a level that are enough for the daily expectancy.

Of course, if a particularly active lifestyle is observed then certain tweaks must be made such as the calorific intake. Eating too little for the amount of activity and exercise can lead to other health defects. A diet relative to lifestyle should always be followed.

Recommendations

The leptin diet will work fantastically for someone who really loves to take that snack in between meals or sit down on an evening after a meal and tuck into an afternoon feast in front of the television.

It is not uncommon for people to eat outside of their mealtimes due to boredom, habit or just to keep their energy levels up. This diet will help you cut down on those mid meal snack that have such an adverse effect on the Leptin levels and therefore on body weight. This diet would be a great one to follow even alongside another diet.

There seems to be no harm in building up a great energy platform for the rest of the day with a high protein diet in the morning and then following it up with two more set meals of equal healthy benefits. Cutting out snacking throughout the day is recommended by any dietician, which is much easier with a good set of meals.

For over-eaters and people used to gorging themselves repeatedly throughout the day, this diet may be very hard to adhere to. It is a vast difference to over eating.

A noticeable difference in energy levels and hunger pangs will be felt when being limited to only three meals a day which are specifically designed not to completely over fill.

Cutting out snacking in between is a difficult habit to break for somebody very used to it, it can become as habit forming as biting nails.

Our recommendation is to remove snack foods from the fridge, counters and other visible places. Instead replacing all these foods with a healthy apple or similar fruit will encourage a healthier alternative.

The Leptin Diet: What is it? Is it Healthy?
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Joao Vasconcelos

Joao is a health and fitness enthusiast and creator of one of the leading fitness blogs in Brazil. With a unique focus on weight loss, Joao is an advocate of functional fitness training and has his own line of natural weight loss juices.

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