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Healthy Weight And Leptin



  • What Is Leptin?

  • Why Is It Important?

  • What About Leptin Resistance?

  • How Can You Eat Fat & Lose Weight?

  • What Is Your “Right Weight”?


What You Don’t Know About Leptin

Can Make You Fat. Look Inside….


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TOPIC: Healthy Weight And Leptin

Obesity now a greater global health crisis than hunger! The latest Global Burden of Disease study shows obesity rates have increased an alarming 82% in the past 20 years.

Middle Eastern countries show a 100% increase since 1990. A result of the Western lifestyle being adopted all around the world, co-author Ali Mokdad adds that for the first time, noncommunicable diseases (diabetes, stroke, and heart disease) top the list for years spent sick or injured. People are living longer, but “are plagued by illness or pain during the last 14 years of life….” The Lancet, December 13, 2012

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​Time To Weigh In

In a fully functioning body, leptin sends signals to the brain that reduce hunger, increase fat burning, and reduce fat storage.

Surprisingly, this hormone is produced by our fat (white adipose tissue). That’s right. That stuff we think we don’t want is not inert. Although it does serve as padding, insulation, and fuel storage, that’s just the beginning.

In 1994, scientists discovered that fat secretes a hormone that regulates energy intake (appetite/hunger) and energy expenditure (metabolism). Named from the Greek leptos, meaning thin, leptin is essential for survival.

As a prime controlling  agent regulating other hormones, it tells thyroid, adrenal, pancreatic, and sex hormones how to perform. Leptin can function without the other hormones, but they cannot function properly without leptin.

Subsequently, other significant fat hormones have been identified, essentially making fat a large endocrine organ similar to the skin as a respiratory organ and the intestinal bacteria as a digestive organ.

In fact, leptin influences our entire body, particularly our brain.1 Meanwhile, researchers have found that leptin is involved with insulin, with the cardiovascular system, immune function, reproductive function, stress response, bone health, and inflammation.

    The amount of leptin each of us has in our bodies is proportional to the amount of fat we carry. Thus, the fatter we are, the more leptin we have. Wait a moment…. How is it possible to be overweight in the presence of large amounts of circulating leptin? With such a clever regulator, why aren’t we all thin? In two words: leptin resistance (Yes, do think insulin resistance.)

Physically, we are designed for feast and famine, not feast and feast. Constant eating of carbohydrates (sugars, grains, and potatoes) results in constant messaging from the fat cells. Eventually our brain no longer registers the satiety signal. Rather, the brain reads “Empty”, slows metabolism, and ramps up hunger. We have become leptin resistant.

Unfortunately, leptin resistance initiates a chain reaction. The pancreas doesn’t receive a signal to stop releasing insulin. Loose insulin encourages the body to store calories as fat (particularly sugar). Furthermore, in the normal fat burning process, adrenaline is released, stimulating the fat cells to release energy. When the body is leptin resistant, this doesn’t happen. The fat cells become “numb” to the stimulation of adrenaline. Heightened circulating adrenaline also causes high blood pressure and sleep problems. Fat accumulates around the waist (as belly fat) and around the organs. It permeates the liver. This impedes the liver’s ability to respond to insulin, heightening diabetes risk.

Perhaps the worse result of a high level of loose leptin is that it promotes inflammation. Just as a diet high in sugar and grains encourages inflammation, that same diet simultaneously encourages leptin resistance. A double whammy. Inflammation plays a primary role in metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, reproductive problems, and heart disease. Leptin problems are now known to be the primary cause of heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, circulatory inflammation, and hardening of the arteries. These conditions are related to leptin malfunction regardless of a person’s body weight..

A sure sign of leptin resistance is being unable to resist eating at night. Other signs are uncontrollable sugar and food cravings, stress eating, weight gain around the middle, inability to reach a goal weight, yo-yo dieting, symptoms of low thyroid, and being over 30. On the other hand, properly functioning leptin acts on receptors in the brain, where it inhibits appetite. How can we restore our sensitivity to leptin, our own built-in, truly natural appetite suppressant? Read on….

​Time To Weigh In


1 Leptin is also produced by cells in brown fat, placenta tissue, ovaries, breasts, muscle, stomach, bone marrow, pituitary, and liver.

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The Weigh In

We can resensitize ourselves to leptin as well as to insulin and adrenaline as we achieve our “Right Weight”. (See sidebar.) We do this by using the 3 Rs. Not “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” but Richard, Richard, and Rosedale. 

These three professionals have helped thousands of clients transform from sugar burners to fat burners. Following their advice, we can do the same. We shift our diet from undesirable carbohydrates to a diet that avoids blood sugar spikes and emphasizes good fats, good carbs, and lean protein intake. AND, we eat by the clock. This way of eating takes us to normal leptin function and a healthy weight.


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Siri Says:

Our three experts don’t agree on all the details of restoring leptin.2 (Differences will be identified as we proceed) The Richards have five rules for eating. Ron Rosedale also has rules but they seem more flexible. I have integrated these rules with the intent of giving you a possible direction.

1 No food for 11-12 hours between your last food in the evening and breakfast the following morning.

2 Eat some protein at breakfast.

3 Never stuff yourself.

4 Reduce the amount of carbs eaten.*

*FYI: There are only four rules listed. This is because Rule 5 represents the greatest difference between the two plans. It is discussed below.

I want to add that both Barry Sears’ Zone Plan and Ann Louise Gittleman’s Fat Flush Plan fit into the fat burning restoration model. In particular, Ann Louise Gittleman began the shift that turned the nation away from fat free eating and toward their importance of good fats in the diet with her books Beyond Pritikin and Eat Fat, Lose Weight.

Siri Says:


This issue features information from Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health (Third Edition 2009), by Byron J. Richards & Mary Guignon Richards and The Rosedale Diet: Turn Off Your Hunger Switch, by Ron Rosedale, MD, and Carol Colman.

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Healthy Weight And Leptin


Within the rule calling for an 11-12 hour fast between your last food in the evening and breakfast the next morning lie two more rules:

1) Finish eating 3 hours before bedtime; and

2) Never go to bed with a full stomach. Together, these three represent the best way to get your body to burn fat at night.

Remember, the body is always using fuel. During the day, the calories we burn come directly from that day’s food intake. (The only exception to this is intense exercise.3) Then, about 9 hours after dinner, our bodies begin to burn fat, accessing it from the thighs, stomach, and buttocks. However, if we eat before bed, then the body is still digesting. (Insulin levels are up for about 3 hours after food intake.) Leptin signals the brain that no energy is needed. Hence, no fat is burned.

Healthy Weight And Leptin



After 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise, the body switches to fat burning.

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Healthy Weight And Leptin


Eat some protein at breakfast. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and keeps the body in a calorie-burning mode. Mid- to late afternoon energy crashes are often the result of eating a breakfast rich in carbs with little protein. Also, with a high carb breakfast (say juice, cereal, and toast), you are more likely to eat at night.

Interestingly, although carbohydrate and protein each supply 4 calories of energy per gram, their effects on metabolism are very different. It is easy for the body to utilize both carbohydrates and fat (9 calories per gram). These foods increase the liver’s metabolic rate by a mere four percent.

Protein is a much more complex nutrient. A high protein meal can increase metabolism by 30 percent for as long as 12 hours, the equivalent of a 3-4 mile jog! Happily, protein also helps solve fluid retention problems. In addition, exercise brings your protein power to the max..

Protein needs depend on age, size, and activity level. The standard method used to estimate the minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply our weight in pounds by .37. The product is the daily minimum grams of protein to be eaten.

A person weighing 150 lbs needs 55g/d while someone who weighs 200, 74g/d. [While too much protein turns to fat as with any other food excess, just enough at each meal really helps to quell hunger. Ed.

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Healthy Weight And Leptin


Stop eating large meals. Otherwise, we are giving the body more fuel than it can use. Further, an overly full stomach is a stress signal.

An easy way to reduce meal size is to eat more slowly. It takes 10 minutes for the brain to sense fullness. If you bolt your food, your brain doesn’t have the time to register satiety and you keep eating.

Declare your meal. (Now is my meal time.) Then allow 30-45 minutes to eat. Be mindful as you chew and taste the food. Also, stop eating before you feel full. The digestive process is less likely to slow you down and your calorie intake is subtly decreased over time.



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Healthy Weight And Leptin


Reduce the amount of carbs eaten. Here we begin to see the parting of the ways in the two plans. The Richards recommend that you cut back on starchy and sugary carbs, not cut them out. Oppositely, Rosedale’s plan is to avoid them altogether for the first 3 weeks.

This may seem unnecessarily strict, but the truth is that Americans eat double the amount of carbs that the body can metabolize. Too many carbohydrates confuse the natural ebb and flow of leptin.

For example, too many carbs at lunch can cause ravishing hunger at dinner. More importantly, an excess of carbs keeps the body from going to its fat reserves for energy, which is how we got into this overweight problem in the first place. Plus, excess carbs are easily stored as fat.

The Richards don’t concur with eliminating dense carbs altogether. Saying that when an insufficient amount of carbohydrates is eaten, fat is not burned efficiently and one is dissatisfied after eating, they recommend a “50/50 technique”.

Have a palm size piece of protein and match it with a starch. In other words, when eating a meat or other protein food, eat about the same size serving of bread, rice, potatoes, fruit, or dessert. (If you are going to eat dessert, skip the heavy starches in the meal – bread, rice, potato. Otherwise, have only a bite of dessert.)4

When you read their books, you will find that Dr. Rosedale does allow a very low carb sprout bread which is helpful.

Otherwise starchy carbs and certainly sugary foods are a big No-No for the first 3 weeks of his plan. Rosedale reminds his followers that his diet is a high good fat diet (avocados, nuts, olives, olive and coconut oils), and he supplies great recipes.

The first 2-4 weeks put your body into transition, ‘unlearning’ how to burn sugar and ‘learning’ how to burn fat. He adds,

“Once this transition happens, you’ll notice your hunger decrease and your energy will skyrocket. The transition period may vary…, but EVERYONE gets better, no exceptions.”

Although carbs are essential, this need does not have to be satisfied by starchy carbs – as anybody who has ever experimented with Atkins knows. Both plans include all the non-starchy veggies you want.

Here is an easy way to determine if your daily carb intake is too high. Weigh in before breakfast and then again before you go to bed. Compare. If you weigh over two pounds more than your morning weight – and you have followed Rules 1-4 – then, you’ve eaten too many carbs that day

Healthy Weight And Leptin



4 On his website, Byron Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, also offers a 20 day “Jump-Start” program. Basically, 3 days of protein smoothie meals followed by 2 drinks and one meal, etc.

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Healthy Weight And Leptin


 Eat 3-4 Meals A Day And Do Not Snack. OR Eat Carb-Free Meals And Snack When Hungry. 

Here is the Great Divide. The Richards prefer that you eat 3 meals, one every 5-6 hours. (They relent for those of us who can’t do that and we eat every 4 hours.)

They point out that grazing is counterproductive to having our goal weight. This is because during the first three hours after a meal, insulin is in charge of storing the calories from the food we have eaten. They point out that even low calorie snacks stimulate insulin release (not to mention that waiting an hour after a meal to eat dessert creates a huge insulin surge). In this case, fat burning either ceases or never gets started in the first place.

But what about non-insulin stimulating snacks? Rosedale points out that hunger is the greatest human drive and that one must eat when hungry. He then directs us to eat very low glycemic snacks, so insulin doesn’t get started in the first place. Nuts of all kinds, olives, avocados, veggies like celery, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower eaten with nut butters or dip are very satisfying and help break the sugar craving cycle.



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Healthy Weight And Leptin

What’s Your “Right Weight?”*

The following formula is exceedingly useful in determining your healthy weight. It was developed by French physician Jean-Michel Cohen, MD, PhD, to help his patients identify a genetically stable weight.

  1. How much did you weigh when you were 18?
  2. How much did you weigh at your heaviest? (Not during pregnancy.)
  1. How much did you weigh at your lightest after 18?
  2. What is your current weight?

Add A & B. Divide by 2, giving you Y.

Add C & D. Divide by 2, giving you Z.

Add Y & Z. Divide by 2, giving you your Right Weight.

*This formula comes from Dr. Cohen’s new book: The Parisian Diet – How To Get To Your Right Weight Weight And Stay There.

Although Dr. Cohen shares many tips from the French eating culture (some of which are in common with the Richards and Rosedale, particularly taking time to eat), his diet is very 80s and ignores what we’ve learned about including good fats. It is low fat, low carb, low protein, and low calorie. [I’d have to be locked away from food and have my meals brought to me to do it. Ed.]


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Healthy Weight And Leptin Supplemental Support

In additional to your regular supplement program, the following nutrients support the body in overcoming its resistance to leptin, insulin, and adrenaline. They also support weight loss efforts and help restore efficient energy production.


Calcium: Calcium counteracts agouti, a particular brain signal which encourages appetite and causes metabolism to slow, resulting in weight gain. Lowering agouti with increased calcium improves thyroid function and metabolism.

This strategy only works with appropriate dietary restriction. It won’t work if excess calories are consumed. Take 2000 – 3000 mg of calcium daily.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D: A stabilizer of leptin secretion, vitamin D is necessary to calcium absorption. Take at least 1000 IU of vitamin D daily. (Read Nutrition News, “The Sunshine Vitamin”.)


Pantethine: A coenzyme form of pantothenic acid (B5), this is the exact form used in metabolism. The supplement helps restore fat metabolism by helping to make it available for fuel.

One study showed that 6 months of use resulted in significantly reduced abdominal fat as well as healing fatty liver disease. To get the desired effects, take 600-900 mg daily.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids: Extra pounds of fat result in an ongoing unhealthy inflammatory response by the immune system. Omega 3 oils (fish and flax) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA from evening primrose and borage seed oils) can reduce inflammation. Also, fish oils reduce insulin resistance and enhance blood sugar (glucose) utilization. Add 3 – 9 grams of these oils to the diet to reduce excess inflammation and support weight loss.


CLA, conjugated linoleic acid: Richards and Richards state that CLA is a powerful nutrient for reducing inflammatory signals and has been shown to stop leptin resistance by as much as 42 percent. Not only does this increase fat burning, indications are that CLA supports growth hormone function, reduces nighttime food cravings, and hastens the weight loss process. Once health is restored, the body no longer needs CLA. Doses range from 3-6 grams per day. (Because CLA is an easily oxidized fatty acid, take it with vitamin E. Life Extension suggests 3 grams in the a.m. on an empty stomach with caffeine.)


Carnosine: This naturally occurring combination of two amino acids is rising to the forefront as an antioxidant. It helps to control appetite, works against stress, and reduces leptin and adrenaline resistance. Dose 500 mg 2-3 per day.

ALC, acetyl-l-carnitine

ALC, acetyl-l-carnitine: This amino acid overcomes leptin resistance by helping the brain correctly sense the amount of leptin being produced by the fat cells.

In addition, taken before bed, it stimulates the production of growth hormone, the youth hormone. ALC has many other actions not related to weight loss, including improved cognitive function, enhanced stress tolerance, and uplifted mood.

Dose up to 2500 mg. Most commonly, 500 mg, 2 times daily. Both carnosine and ALC are best taken on an empty stomach.


Related Resources

Each month, Nutrition News features three additional titles to support our main topic. This month’s selections are:

“7 Paths To Your Ideal Weight”,“Calcium”, and “The Fats Of Life.”

Nutrition News Calcium Cover
7 Paths To Weight Loss Cover image
Fats & Oils cover image