When it comes to dieting, listening to your body’s cues can lead to a successful journey. Knowing when you’re actually hungry and when you’re emotionally eating or just thirsty is essential in long-term weight loss and maintenance. Logically, you know you should stop eating when you are full. However, it can often be more complicated than that. Various hormones in your body trigger you to start and stop eating. What if the hormone that tells you to stop eating could be controlled by the foods you eat?

WHAT IS LEPTIN?

Leptin is a hormone that plays a role in various parts of the body, including the brain, lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. Primarily, leptin tells your body when you are full. It signals the brain to stop eating based on the expansion of your stomach. The more food in your stomach, the harder leptin signals you to put down the fork.

WHAT EFFECTS LEPTIN LEVELS?

Weight and food consumption are two controllable factors that affect the amount of leptin in your body. Since fat cells produce leptin, body mass index (BMI) has been linked to high levels of leptin in the blood. The more you weigh, the more leptin in your body. Thus, obesity (BMI >30) leads to increased leptin levels.

Also, diet has been shown to affect the levels of leptin in the body. Since leptin and the immune system work together, consuming anti-inflammatory alkaline foods make you more sensitive to leptin levels. This can potentially lead to weight loss and a healthier body.

INCREASED LEPTIN LEVELS

What are the downfalls of increased leptin levels? Firstly, the pro-inflammatory nature of leptin leads to inflammation in your organs and tissues. This inflammation causes disruption and leads to various diseases, such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Chronic inflammation can cause a multitude of painful and debilitating diseases.

Secondly, chronically high levels of leptin may lead to leptin resistance. This means your body does not respond as well to the normal levels of leptin. More leptin is required to signal your brain to tell you to stop eating. Also, emotional eating can be a trigger of leptin resistance if you stop listening to your body’s cues.

pH SCALE

The pH scale is used to determine acidity and alkalinity. The scale is from 0 to 14 with 0 to 6.9 being acidic, 7.1 to 14 being alkaline and 7 being neutral. Most diseases live in an acidic environment, so your body’s goal is to be between 7.3 and 7.4, which is slightly alkaline.

Limiting consumption of acid-forming foods and eating more of the alkaline-forming foods can protect your body from disease by decreasing leptin levels and inflammation. Since alkaline-forming foods are anti-inflammatory, it gives your body a chance to achieve normal leptin levels.

ALKALINE-FORMING FOODS

Most alkaline foods are plant-based proteins, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. These are avocado, summer black radish, alfalfa grass, barley grass, cucumber, kale, jicama, wheat grass, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, endive, cabbage, celery, red beet, almonds, navy beans, lima beans, watermelon, tomato, figs and ripe bananas. (See the Healing Foods Diet).

ACID-FORMING FOODS

Acid-forming foods include refined sugar, hydrogenated oil, dairy, grain and animal fat. Foods to limit are beer, coffee, liquor, sweetened fruit juice, conventional beef, pork veal, canned tuna, canned sardines, artificial sweeteners, oats, cold cuts, milk, pasta, rice and bread.

For more on anti-inflammatory foods and recipes, check out my Real Food Diet Cookbook.

 

 

REFERENCES

1. Fei, H., et al. “Anatomic Localization of Alternatively Spliced Leptin Receptors (Ob-R) in Mouse Brain and Other Tissues.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 94.13 (1997): 7001-5. Print.

2. Barr, V. A., K. Lane, and S. I. Taylor. “Subcellular Localization and Internalization of the Four Human Leptin Receptor Isoforms.” The Journal of biological chemistry 274.30 (1999): 21416-24. Print.

3. Apolzan, J. W., and R. B. Harris. “Rapid Onset and Reversal of Peripheral and Central Leptin Resistance in Rats Offered Chow, Sucrose Solution, and Lard.” Appetite (2012)Print.

4. Parhami, F., et al. “Leptin Enhances the Calcification of Vascular Cells: Artery Wall as a Target of Leptin.” Circulation research 88.9 (2001): 954-60. Print.

5. Martins, M. D., L. Lima Faleiro, and A. Fonseca. “Relationship between Leptin and Body Mass and Metabolic Syndrome in an Adult Population.” Revista portuguesa de cardiologia : orgao oficial da Sociedade Portuguesa de Cardiologia = Portuguese journal of cardiology : an official journal of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology (2012)Print.

6. Ahren, B., et al. “Regulation of Plasma Leptin in Mice: Influence of Age, High-Fat Diet, and Fasting.” The American Journal of Physiology 273.1 Pt 2 (1997): R113-20. Print.

7. Ahren, B. “Plasma Leptin and Insulin in C57BI/6J Mice on a High-Fat Diet: Relation to Subsequent Changes in Body Weight.” Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 165.2 (1999): 233-40. Print.

8. de Heredia, F. P., S. Gomez-Martinez, and A. Marcos. “Obesity, Inflammation and the Immune System.” The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 71.2 (2012): 332-8. Print.

9. Martin, S. S., A. Qasim, and M. P. Reilly. “Leptin Resistance: A Possible Interface of Inflammation and Metabolism in Obesity-Related Cardiovascular Disease.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 52.15 (2008): 1201-10. Print.