This month Nutritional Expert Brad King invites us to really think about those last 10 pounds. Read on!
You have been painstakingly following a weight reduction program for the past few months—following its recommendations to a tee. For the first time in your life, you’ve been following an exercise program and actually enjoying it. You look and feel better than you can ever remember, but there is one thing wrong—that last bit of fat is clinging to you for dear life!
Almost anyone who has tried to lose excess body fat and succeeded can relate to the above scenario. Why do those last few pounds of fat seem next to impossible to lose? The secret may lie within a little known hormone called leptin.
Leptin—a hormone produced by your fat cells—plays numerous rolls in your biochemistry, one of which is to regulate bodyweight by sending satiation (fullness) signals to your brain and another is to increase your overall energy expenditure—your body’s ability to burn fat.
When you lose bodyfat, leptin levels decline along with the excess fat. However, when you gain fat, leptin levels rise. Leptin is kind of like an accountant to your fat cells, making sure that you hold onto your excess fat savings by stimulating your appetite as your fat cells deflate.
Lose bodyfat by eating more?
Leptin does its job so well that one human study presented in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that moderately overweight healthy women following a low-calorie diet over a three-month period, actually increased their appetite two-fold and the subjects who experienced the greatest decline in their leptin levels also experienced the greatest increase in their desire to eat.
Anyone who has followed a low calorie diet will attest to the fact that it is extremely difficult to stay on, especially when your biochemistry seems to be working against you. Simply put: Low calories = lowered leptin = increased appetite and cravings.
I have always advocated consuming at least two high-alpha whey protein shakes (i.e. Ultimate Protein Energy Shake) each day with a high fibre blend (i.e. FibreLean)—preferably organic—along with three solid meals (consisting of lean protein, fibrous carbs and essential fats) while trying to enhance metabolism and lose excess bodyfat. This dietary protocol is what the highly successful Fat Wars program is based on.
Keeping your thyroid revving
When we discuss metabolism and our ability to burn calories effectively, we must give credit where credit is due. In this case we must give special mention to that little gland that lies in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple—the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is responsible for controlling the bodies overall metabolism with the aid of its specialized hormones—thyroxin (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Even though 93% of the hormone secreted by the thyroid is T4, the great majority of T4 must be converted to T3 (the metabolically active thyroid hormone) in order to enhance metabolism.
Leptin also has the ability to lower your metabolic rate by negatively affecting the conversion of your thyroid hormones when you skip meals or severely restrict your calories—the end result is you find it next to impossible to lose any more fat.
A human study presented in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism proved that the thyroid lowering effects brought on by declining leptin levels—through weight loss and dieting—could actually be reversed by administration of “replacement” doses of leptin. But before you go asking your family doctor for an injection of leptin, let me explain how you can naturally stimulate its production.
Don’t be deceived by the “fad diet promise” of losing tons of weight in minimal time. As mentioned, severe caloric deprivation will send leptin plummeting. Instead, teach yourself to eat smaller meals 5 – 6 times a day (two high-alpha whey protein shakes and three small well balanced meals) and whatever you do, don’t skip meals—this tactic leads to lower levels of leptin and negative changes in your thyroid hormones and the dreaded Why can’t I lose anymore weight syndrome!
Another little trick is to supplement with the mineral zinc. Zinc has been shown in studies to raise leptin levels. In fact, a study published in the journal Life Science showed that zinc was able to increase leptin production by a whopping 142%.
- Consume lean protein, fibrous carbs and essential fats with every meal
- Eat smaller meals 5 – 6 times a day (2 as liquid shakes)
- Never skip meals
- Add some weight-bearing exercises 2-4 times weekly
Grinspoon, S.K., et al. Effects of fasting and glucose infusion on basal and overnight leptin concentrations in normal-weight women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Dec;66(6):1352-6.
Rosenbaum, M., et al. Low dose leptin administration reverses effects of sustained weight-reduction on energy expenditure and circulating concentrations of thyroid hormones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 May;87(5):2391-4.
Chen MD, Song YM, Lin PY. Zinc may be a mediator of leptin production in humans. Life Sci. 2000 Apr 21;66(22):2143-9.