As I covered in my previous blog about Insulin resistance, Leptin resistance occurs when the signal for its secretion becomes muted. When this happens, the brain becomes confused and continues to signal that our body is in need or energy. The brain till continue to signal that the body is in starvation which in turn effects the basic biochemistry of simple reactions whilst at the same time, it is signalling to simultaneously reduce energy expenditure. With higher levels of obesity these signals become more and more muted giving rise to stronger signals to over consume and keep on eating. This is one of the reasons obese or overweight people complain that they’re always hungry, they’re being told by their brain that they need food and calories to function.
Now this is where things can start to complicated at a biochemical level. When you combine the leptin insensitivity with decreased Insulin sensitivity you have the makings of a dysfunctional thyroid and a whole host of problems. Obesity is one of these major factor and one we can positively affect and support through intelligent dietary practices.
This doesn’t by any means mean reverting to the overly restrictive patterns that would implicate poor behavioural patterns and relationships with food (No can’t touch that attitude). This is one in which we must re-enforce better behavioural patterns and the inclusion of food that are typically bracketed under the “clean” umbrella which in itself is a minefield due to the amount of foods labelled as “healthy” or “Extra protein” but can still contain an abundance of sugars and trans fats. Why is eating properly cooked well balanced meals better than throwing back a grenade bar or three? Simply due to the fact cooked meals such as a lean protein and good carb source satiate and quench appetite better than less nutrient dense options with the exact same macronutrient profile. Some protein bars are 350cals with 25g of protein and unfortunately the bioavailability of the protein is usually quite low, so it’s 350 empty calories. Overall, good and bad must always be replaced with what is most appropriate and supportive of compliance and health.
Leptin and ghrelin share the same brain cells, so they regulate the satiety and hunger signals in a sew saw type effect. Ghrelin looks opposite to Leptin, where it appears to play a role in the initiation of eating. However similar to Leptin, it is also inversely related to bodyweight: ghrelin levels will elevate when weight loss is initiated and the stomach indicates it is empty. It signals the hypothalamus there is a state of starvation or a shortage in energetic requirements therefore becomes what we term as a physiological feeding initiator.
Next time….Androgens and Testosterone.
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