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Leptin and losing body fat

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Even though it is generally believed that weight loss is about calories and willpower, there are some other things that you need to know about. The modern obesity research has found different scientific facts which can help you to understand your weight loss process better.


Leptin is a hormone that regulates your body weight. It is produced by your body's fat cells and it is generally referred to as the satiety hormone or the starvation hormone.

Leptin's primary target is in the brain. It targets an area known as the hypothalamus. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain when you have enough fat stored. Because of it you know that you don't need to eat and now can burn calories at a normal rate.


The hormone also has other functions related to immunity, fertility and brain function. However, its main role is regulating energy in your body. That is why it controls the number of calories you eat and how many you spend. It also controls how much fat you store in your body.

Leptin is important for you because it evolved to keep you from starving or overeating. These are two scenarios which can make your survival difficult in the natural environment.

Impact on your brain

Leptin is produced by fat cells present in your body. So, if you have more body fat, you're likely to produce more leptin. The produced leptin is carried by the bloodstream into your brain. In the brain this hormone sensor signal to your hypothalamus and hypothalamus is the reason that controls when and how much you eat.

If your body has high levels of body fat, your body will have high levels of leptin and that will tell your brain that you have plenty of fat stored and you do not need to eat any more. On the other hand, low levels of leptin will signal to your brain that fat stores are low and you need to eat.

When you listen to your brain, you eat and your body fat goes up, which increases leptin levels. When you leptin levels go down, you'll eat more and burn less calories.

This is a system which is present in your body and it is known as a negative feedback loop.

Leptin resistance

Obese people generally have lot of body fat in their fat cells, which produce more leptin in the body. If we follow the system that leptin follows, obese people should have nature really limited their food conjunction. Since they have high levels of leptin, their brain might have signalled that they have plenty of energy stored and so they should stop eating. However, in case of obese people, their leptin signalling may not work.

The brain may not be able to see the present leptin or it may not get the signal to stop eating. This is a condition which is known as leptin resistance and it is one of the major contributors to obesity.

In a scenario, when your brain does not receive the leptin signal, it will think that your body is starving and it will eat more even when it has more than enough energy stored. As a result of that, your brain will encourage you to eat more and reduce energy expenditure. That will result in weight gain and not loss.

References 1. Leptoconnect
2. The Role of Leptin in Human Physiology
3. Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster