So many hormones are involved with metabolism. One of these is Leptin, which is the new focus of a diet that is being heavily advertised online currently. Dr. Emily Cooper of Seattle Performance Medicine joins KING 5 to discuss how effective the Leptin Diet really is.
What are these so-called “fat hormones” all about?
Most of the diets promoted as a Leptin miracle are actually the opposite of what would actually help your Leptin. They're just using the buzzword of the moment to sell you something. Don't fall for that.
What they do have right is that Leptin, along with Adiponectin, are what get called "fat hormones," because they are primarily produced by the body's fat stores.
So do they make you fat?
It gets a little complicated. Leptin is the hormone that's produced in your fat cells and shows your brain the amount of fat you carry on your body. It gives the brain a signal that it's secure and safe to burn off any excess fat that you've accumulated by speeding up your metabolism accordingly and keeping your appetite calm.
Adiponectin is the hormone that shows the muscles you’re fat. It helps them absorb what they need to burn energy and also speed up your metabolism.
Leptin is secreted when you sleep, showing just how important it is to get enough rest.
Speeding up metabolism while sleeping and burning excess fat. What’s not to like about these hormones?
The opposite can be true as well. If there's a glitch in the communications loop of the body's systems, which happens with many overweight and obese people, the brain may never get the signal that it's okay to burn off any excess fat. This happens for some reasons we know and other reasons we don’t quite understand yet. So, no matter what the person is eating, the fat is not getting burned off.
For example, you might have a friend who is overweight but doesn't seem to eat very much and still can't lose weight.
Also, under-fueled exercise and deprivation diets can suppress your Leptin, so fueling properly helps. For Adiponectin, Omega-3 fats and colorful fruits and veggies are a good idea.
Where do genetics play into this? Can you find out what your Leptin and Adiponectin are doing?
Yes. There is a simple blood test to see your levels that can give a clue as to what's happening in your particular system. It's just a partial clue though, far from whole picture or even the whole map. There are many other factors and hormones that encompass your metabolism.
What about Ghrelin? That hormone has been in the media lately.
Ghrelin, along with the hormone GLP-1, are commonly referred to as "GI tract hormones,” because they are produced by the stomach and the lower intestine. Ghrelin tells your brain that your body is hungry and needs to eat, so it slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. GLP-1 shows your brain that there's enough food and that it's safe to speed up the metabolism. Basically, Ghrelin usually makes you hungry and GLP-1 says you're full. They work as a team.
So if these hormones are off balance you could be hungry all the time?
Yes, if you or someone you know always seems hungry and never feels satisfied after eating, their Ghrelin and GLP-1 levels could be a part of the problem. It may not be the only thing that's the problem, but it's something to look into that's commonly overlooked in a lot of mainstream medicine. Stress also increases Ghrelin.
So what we call “stress eating” could be a Ghrelin problem?
Yes. Also, going long periods without eating increases Ghrelin, so by eating every few hours, you keep your body more balanced. There are also a lot of other hormones such as insulin, AGRP, NPY and MSH that all need to work in harmony to create a healthy and balanced metabolism.