Right, so we looked at why we crave junk food in part one and focused on the social aspects, the obvious reasons we can see that we are craving junk. In part two I am going to look a little into the science around leptin, a hormone to control hunger and satiety levels and then in part 3 the effects of insulin on the body and fat loss.
'Junk Food' by Stonestreet's Coaches - The Extra Mile
So, Leptin, as we all know about the wonderful things that seem to rule our bodies in everyday life, the things we call hormones; leptin is the one that is so crucial when it comes down to fat loss and cravings for foods. Leptin controls the bodies feelings of hunger and satiety levels and is found inside adipose tissue otherwise known as fat, the more fat a person has, the higher the leptin levels. High leptin levels are not just bad for cravings and fat it can also have a detrimental effect on blood pressure causing high blood pressure levels, obesity, heart disease and even strokes alongside things like blood sugar related problems which can lead to different forms of diabetes.
Leptin levels being high should be a good thing right? So the more fat you have the higher your leptin levels? In theory, yes, however with obesity comes things such as damaged metabolism and endocrine problems which effect the majority of obese people. Many overweight individuals also develop leptin resistance meaning leptin cannot produce its normal effects stimulating weight loss, but instead the resistence of leptin is seen as starvation which has a vicious effect of activating the different pathways in the body in order to increase fat stores. One other thing that leptin resistance stimulates is the reverse t3 effect which actually blocks the effect of this thyroid hormone on metabolism. So leptin resistance in short means you are eating more but your body thinks it is actually starving and tells you to eat more again... charming!
What causes leptin resistance? There are multiple causes to leptin resistance, some are listedn below:
- High consumptions of simple carbohydrates
- High stress levels
- High insulin levels
- Lack of sleep and recovery
- Actually exercising too much
So, you believe you have leptin resistance? Can you do anything? Simple answer, YES. There are a few things that you can do in order to reverse this negativity in your body:
- Stay away from simple sugars, processed foods, and starchy foods.
- Optimise your sleep, be in bed by ten, get into a routine, aim for at least 8 hours of recovery or more if you are able. Supplementing with a ZMA supplement can be beneficial to aid recovery and sleep.
- Recover! It is very hard but if you have leptin resistance, take some time off of the gym stay away recover and reset your hormones.
- Stay away from snacking, eating every 3-4hours small meals is ok but snacking will make your liver work extra and will not allow your hormones sufficient recovery time. Included in this ‘snacking’ is drinks that include calories, herbal teas, water, decaffeinated coffee and black tea are fine but high levels of caffeine could be negative towards recovery so watch this.
- Consume your protein and fats. Give yourself a good serving first thing in the morning in order to give the body what it needs to create the building blocks to make hormones.
- Eat more omega 3’s minimize your omega 6 consumption to aid lower inflammation levels and support your good leptin levels.
If you are doing these things then leptin resistance should fade away and no longer be an issue meaning you will now feel full, and be able to lose fat continuing on with your goals without any excuses. In part three I will be looking at insulin.
As always if you would like any tailored training plans, specific to needs or diet requirements, fat loss, muscle gain, dairy free, gluten free and anything else give me a shout and we will be able to work something out specific to yourselves.