The Scoop on Leptin and Hormonal Havoc

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As a nutritionist/weight loss expert, I am always stressing to my dieter’s to slow down!
You need to slow down because eating fast is similar to going shopping without a list, you end up buying too much and this ultimately leads to waste. In this case, the waste is the excess fat that builds up from the excess you are consuming because you aren’t allowing your brain to receive feedback from your digestive system, which naturally dictates when you should stop eating (because you’ve had enough rather than eating until you’re filled up.)

You have to give your brain (hypothalamus) the chance to receive a series of signals from your digestive hormones. In other words, behind the scenes, there’s some serious stuff secreting (from your gastro tract) after you eat, and these hormones, particularly a power player named Leptin, literally has everything to do with how much fat we carry in our bodies.

Leptin has a starring role and it’s main gig is in long term regulation of energy. If we have enough fat stored, it tells us that we don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate. It also tells us when we have reached satiety.

You know the feeling, just before your belly bloats and blows up like a basketball. That’s Leptin sending out that satiated feeling.. However, there’s a fine line between where Leptin’s work ends and where its Arch rival, Dopamine’s starts (and this is where it gets complicated.) Dopamine is all pleasure and that sweet feeling of belly fullness (and you want to keep eating because you’re enjoying it) That’s Dopamine working, despite Leptin telling you that you’ve had enough.

As leptin works to maintain homeostasis, it’s supposed to send the signal to all (particularly after a meal) that you have enough body fat and no more food is needed. Hence, there’s no accumulation of excess fat (adipose tissue) and weight stays consistent.

The problem is that (for complex reasons) overweight dieters are not getting that signal, even though they’re actually producing tons of leptin. You see, fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size and truly obese peeps have leptin for days, but their brain is overloading with these Leptin signals. Therefore,  a case of information overload occurs.

As more and more leptin signals the brain, the brain is missing that “call” and the more body fat one has, the less food is needed, but the overweight/obese person’s brain is erroneously thinking it’s starving! This leads them needing to eat more which leads to more fat storage.

Indeed, its a vicious cycle and is a total nightmare, that is so truly unfair because Leptin (and it’s colleague and partner in theatrics) Dopamine are inadvertently causing the overweight dieter to be hungrier and overeat.

Next up; Stay tuned to scoop about  power player/hunger hormone , Ghrelin!