Appetite Control and Leptin
Leptin, the “satiety hormone”, discovered in just 1994 is a hormone made by fat cells that helps to regulate hunger. After you eat, leptin is released into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain telling you to stop eating because you’re full. Without leptin we could continue to eat until we explode. Some people have what’s called leptin resistance where the brain is unable to pick up its signals causing mindless eating and overeating. It’s also a cycle where the more you eat, the more engorged your fat cells, and the greater the risk of worsening your leptin resistance because it is your fat cells that make this hormone. The more you gain, the more sensitive your body becomes to leptin. Leptin resistance is associated with certain other medical conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, and elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream. Leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy balance… the amount of calories we eat and expend, and how much fat we store on our bodies
People with leptin resistance may find that they have frequent or even constant cravings or feelings of hunger. Researchers are still working to fully understand and develop effective treatments for leptin resistance, but for now, controlling cravings is the key to combating the effects of this condition. If you’re eating lots of sugar/carbs, or if you’re very stressed or sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel like you have an appetite you just can’t satisfy. To beat your cravings, protein and fiber are the keys as they both keep you very full for a long time.
Reversing Leptin Resistance: How do you know if you’re leptin resistant? There is no set blood test done to determine leptin levels. The best test to do to determine if you are leptin resistant is to look in the mirror. If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area then you are almost certainly leptin resistant. Leptin resistance occurs years before insulin resistance and full blown diabetes.
So what can we do? The low carb, gluten free diet will help you tremendously!
- Cut out grains, refined sugars and processed foods and replace them with “slow burn” foods like protein and fats so you avoid leptin spikes that cause leptin resistance
- Increase the good fats in your diet including avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, fish oils, butter, ghee and olive oil. Take 2,000mg-3,000mg Omega 3 (fish oils)
- Avoid processed foods
- Increase fiber in your diet. I recommend taking fiber supplements 30 minutes before each meal
- Always have protein with each meal
- Eat 3 meals per day and not snacking all day stabilizes leptin levels and avoids spikes
- Exercise like resistance training increases leptin sensitivity so the signals can reach your brain that you’re full
- Reduce your stress levels and get plenty of sleep
So here is yet another reason to follow a low carb, gluten free lifestyle. Eating real low carb/sugar food, exercising and sleeping well are all lifelong endeavours that require a shift in lifestyle.
I am on the road most days and tend to skip breakfast, even though I am completely aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…it kick starts the metabolism. I can also be lazy so I don’t bother with a blender except if I am making one for my husband as well in which I may add frozen fruit and/or a banana. The basic recipe for me is:
- 1 Scoop Protein (I use protein concentrate not isolate as it is slower released and keeps me fuller longer)
- 1 Tbls liquid fish oil (you can never taste the fish oil as they make them very tasty these days)
- 1 Tbls Progressive Phytoberry (this is loaded with berries and fruits among many other ingredients, which is very high in anti-oxidants)
- 1 Tbls Progressive Vege Greens (you won’t believe how many amazing ingredients in this greens product and they now have a new pineapple/coconut flavor)
- 1-2 Tbls MCT oil (this is a great fat burner)
This is your basic recipe. You can use whatever protein powders, greens or powder fruit blends as you choose. I put water in my shaker cup (the one with the metal mesh ball in them), add all of the ingredients, shake and go. It literally takes 5 minutes max.
If I use a blender, I will add one or more of the following:
- 1 banana
- ½ cup frozen blueberries (you can use fresh)
- ½ cup frozen strawberries (you can use fresh)
- Any other types of fruit
- You can add spinach or kale for added greens
- The recipes are completely endless depending on your taste, just do it
I could not eat ALL DAY long and get half of the nutrients that I get in this shake. You can even freeze it for later and have a frozen smoothie.
The one thing I quickly realized when following a low carb diet is to BE PREPARED! A lot of us (including me) are lazy cooks. If my husband isn’t cooking for me I would tend to open a can of tuna and have a tuna sandwich. It’s simple, easy and fast and quite filling for me. So, now my husband and I will cook a turkey on the weekend and then I will clean it up and boil the bones to make turkey soup. So now I have cold turkey for my salads and soup which I just have to re-heat all week. My soups are just meat and veggies and sometimes black beans. I never add potatoes or rice to keep the carbs lower. We will cook chicken and do the same thing as turkey.
The other things we prepare for the week are boiled eggs, cut up veggies and lettuce. So, when I am hungry (and lazy or busy) I can simply put a salad together, eat soup or have some boiled eggs with cold veggies. I use MCT oil and balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings and veggie dips with some spices. So, what exactly should I be eating when following a low carb diet?
- Meat – all types of beef, pork, chicken, lamb etc.
- Fish – all types especially those high in Omega 3 such as salmon, mussels, tuna, and sardines
- Chicken – skin on, free range
- Vegetables – all types that grown above the ground. Leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, avocados, mushrooms, lettuce. Stay away from root veggies, the ones that grow in the dirt
- Cheese – choose the full fat varieties.
- Cream – full fat, double, whipping.
- Full fat milk – avoid all flavored milks and avoid any milk in large quantities because even though it may only contain 5% carbs, it is easy to drink a 250ml serving which equates to 12.5g carbs.
- Nuts and seeds – a great snack but just watch not to overindulge as they still have a fair amount of carbs
- Eggs – choose free range if you can
- Fats – use butter, olive oil, coconut oil (high in oleic acid), lard, MCT oil
Foods to Avoid:
- All processed sugar drinks – pop, juice, energy drinks, anything with sugar and carbs
- All cakes, biscuits, jams, sweets.
- All cereals – most cereal contains anywhere from 50%-80% carbs. No wonder they are known as CEREAL KILLERS!!!
- Bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar etc. There is little nutritional value in these foods and they are loaded in carbs
- Fruit is something that should be limited because of the high fructose content. It is natures candy. Yes fruit has vitamins and healthy nutrients, but you will be getting far more nutrients from your increase veggie intake. Choose nutrient dense, low carb fruits such as berries. Fruit such as pineapple, mango, and especially dried fruits, should be avoided. Also avoid ALL fruit juices. They have an incredibly high glycemic index, which will make your insulin spike (and start storing fat again). “If you are overweight, fruit is not your friend”.
- All wheat products have a high glycemic index, raise your blood sugar and increase appetite
- Grains avoid all grains including wheat, oats, barley, spelt etc.
- Pasta is extremely high in carbohydrates and has almost no nutritional value
- Starchy vegetables if you can tolerate some carbs, choose highly coloured starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, beetroot or sweet potato for their wonderful phytonutrients and vitamins.
- Rice very little nutritional value. Generally used to bulk out a meal. Try substituting rice for more vegetables or check out cauliflower rice recipes
- Rice crackers these are almost 80% carbs and incredibly processed, especially the flavored ones. Avoid.
- Diet or low fat products check the labels and you will see how processed they are and how much higher in carbs they are compared to their regular version e.g, low fat cream cheese can be up to 15% carbs, whereas the regular is only4%
How Do I Get Coconut Oil in My Diet?
- Put it in your hot drinks, including coffee and hot chocolate…it tastes great
- Put it in your smoothies
- Bake with it
- Fry with it
- There are tons of recipes using coconut oil. One of my favorites are “coconut fat bombs”
Coconut Fat Bombs
- 1 Cup Coconut Oil
- ½ Cup Cocoa powder
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla bean powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract or 1-2 Drops of Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
- 5 Drops of Liquid Stevia, raw honey or natural sweetener of choice (optional)
- Process all the ingredients together in a food processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour into ice cub trays or silicone molds (like these) and freeze.
- Once frozen, pop the coconut oil fat bombs out of the molds and store them in a freezer zip lock or jar. Enjoy!
Yields 1 1/2 cups of coconut oil fat bombs.
Author: The Coconut Mama: http://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-oil-fat-bombs/
Coconut oil is a saturated fat so isn’t that bad for me? What fats are good for me?
“I am so confused about what fats are good and what fats are bad for me. My best friend is a huge fan of coconut oil and is trying to get me to use it. She is taking it mostly for weight loss however also uses it instead of any other fat in her diet because she says it’s really healthy for you. How can fats make you lose weight and do you think coconut oil is the best for this?”
Not all fat is created equal!!! Coconut is actually a saturated fat which we have been told to stay clear of, however this saturated fat behaves so differently in the body than all other saturated fats.
Coconut oil is about 85% – 90% saturated fat which is why it is solid at room temperature and has a long shelf life as well it is extremely stable under high heat. Butter is about 60% – 65% and beef fat and lard is about 40% saturated fat. Olive oil is only 15% saturated. So how is it possible that this fat is actually good for us? It’s because of the MCT or MCFA oil it contains. MCFA stands for medium chain fatty acids. Unlike LCFA’s (long chain fatty acids) that you get from liquid oils, dairy and fatty meats, MCT’s are metabolized differently in the body. The statement from health officials that ALL saturated fats are bad for you and can cause heart disease is outdated. Newest studies show that this information is seriously flawed.
- MCFA’s differ from LCFA’s because they are smaller and easily digested putting less strain on your digestive system. LCFA’s require special enzymes in order for the body to utilize them
- MCFA’s are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. LCFA’s are stored in your body as fat and can be deposited in your arteries in the form of cholesterol
- MCFA’s help to stimulate your metabolism leading to weight loss
Also, don’t confuse man-made saturated fats with natural saturated fats. Man-made saturated fats are healthy fats that have been manipulated through a process called hydrogenation. You will see hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats in the ingredients list of many, many foods. Hydrogenation means that they can take a good healthy fat, add hydrogen atoms to it while heating the oil, producing rancid, thickened oil (thus solid at room temperature). I call it plastic fat. This extends the products shelf life. The medical and scientific communities are now agreeing that hydrogenated (plastic) oils should be avoided. These are also called trans fats and everyone has heard of these. Some cities and states have now banned their use. These are the same fats that we have always known to be healthy and heart friendly for over 60 years until they manipulate them. Trans fats are the true enemy!
What foods contain trans fats?
- Deep fried foods
- Cookies, cakes & pies
- Microwave popcorn
- Breakfast sandwiches
- Frozen pizza
You can get a full list of foods that contain trans fats everywhere on the internet
Cooking with Fats:
In my kitchen, I only use 3 fats. 1. Coconut oil 2. MCT Oil 3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I use MCT oil and/or Olive oil with balsamic vinegar for my salad dressings. Never heat the olive oil or MCT oil. They are not stable under heat and will cause oxidative damage. Also, most vegetable oils are GMO. This would include about 90% of the soy, corn and canola oils. Vegetable oils are also very high in omega 6 which creates an imbalance in the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats. Excess omega 6 cause a plethora of health issues. The only fat that is stable under heat is coconut oil so don’t use any other fats to cook with.
More Benefits of Adding Coconut Oil to Your Diet:
- Coconut oil stimulates metabolism and burns fat
- Coconut oil is actually amazing at raising the good HDL cholesterol
- Alzheimer’s disease protection
- Provides energy
- Heart healthy
- Brain health
- Skin health
- Immune system support
- Thyroid support