Last Updated on June 8, 2022 by Cristina
Leptin diets are catching people’s attention in recent years but what exactly is this type of diet? What do you eat on the leptin diet to lose weight? Is it really healthy, safe, or science-based, or is it rather just the next faux craze to sell people overpriced food supplements? We’ll try to cover each of those points below.
What Is A Leptin Diet Exactly? What Do You Eat On The Leptin Diet?
The leptin diet is indeed pretty new as it’s based on the 1994 discovery of the leptin hormone. The discovery was made by the clinical nutritionist Byron J. Richards who determined that leptin is a hormone produced by the body’s fat stores. The sole purpose of leptin for the body is to inform the brain when we are full and we can stop feeling hungry.
Naturally, leptin was deemed to be incredibly important for our body’s metabolism, health, weight gain, and weight loss, and became the center of a lot of research and diets, including the leptin diet.
What is the main takeaway of most of this research that the leptin diet is based on? There are two main points here:
- Eating lots of carbohydrates, processed foods, too much fat, or just too much in general can lead to leptin resistance which stops your brain from receiving the leptin signals telling it to stop being hungry
- Some diets can trigger a leptin response, telling your brain and body to start storing up fats because of the lack of food.
Based on such conclusions, Richards developed the leptin diet – a diet intended to help you lose weight slowly and in a healthy manner.
The 5 Rules Of The Leptin Diet – What Do You Eat On The Leptin Diet?
This diet can be summed up by the following 5 rules:
- Don’t eat before sleep/after dinner
- Don’t go over 3 meals a day
- Make sure each meal is moderate in size, usually between 500 and 700 calories – the goal is to never be hungry but to never be “completely full” either
- The breakfast is an important meal and should be as rich as the lunch and dinner, especially in protein (but not exclusively)
- You should cut back on the carbohydrates but still eat some. The ideal ratio, according to the leptin diet is 40/30/30 of proteins/fat/carbs
The extra 6th rule often cited by proponents of the leptin diet is that moderate daily exercise should also be practiced. It doesn’t need to be anything special, you just need at least ~30 minutes of moderate exercise to keep your body active and your metabolism and hormonal balance in check.
What Do You Eat On The Leptin Diet?
The great thing about the leptin diet is that it’s very well balanced. It doesn’t cut out carbs completely like the keto diet but just limits them to a healthy degree. This allows you to eat diverse and delicious food as long as it’s healthy – lots of vegetables and salads, lean meats and fish, fruits (berries, in particular), whole grains and legumes, and so on. Essentially, it’s what most people imagine when they hear about “a healthy diet”.
So, Is The Leptin Diet Right For You?
The key thing to remember when looking at a new diet is that every person is different. What works wonderfully for some can be outright life-threatening for others. This extreme is not the case here, of course, as the leptin diet is pretty well-balanced.
Still, even here it’s wise to talk with a medical professional before you start. For example, a lot of people’s genetic profile works better with 5 or 6 smaller meals a day rather than only 3 moderate-sized meals. For some people, big and protein-rich breakfasts are ill-advised due to their blood pressure levels. Not to mention that you may have a very severe leptin resistance that necessitates the use of certain medical supplements.
So, consulting with a doctor is always advisable here. That being said, the leptin diet does look very well-balanced overall and suitable for the vast majority of people.
What are the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet?
It’s pretty easy to see how easy the leptin diet is to follow when you look at its five main rules:
1. Don’t eat late – you should never eat after dinner and/or less than 3 hours before going to bed
2. Stick to just 3 meals a day – this means no in-between meals which are often recommended in other diets
3. Keep portion sizes small – the goal of a meal isn’t to get you full but to get you full enough
4. Protein breakfasts – make sure your breakfast is rich in protein, 20 to 30 grams being the standard or a little more if you are still on the heavier side
5. Limit carbs but don’t remove them entirely – the leptin diet expects a nice spread of 40% proteins, 30% fat, and 30% carbs which means that most people will need to cut down on the carbs but not get rid of them completely
All in all, these five base rules make the leptin diet a pretty easy-to-maintain and middle-of-the-road diet for most people. The only more controversial part is whether you should have small in-between snacks or restrict yourself to just 3 meals.
What foods should I avoid with leptin resistance?
As leptin resistance prevents us from significantly reducing our food intake and lowers our capacity for exercise, the way to deal with it (outside of medication) is to at least try to change what we eat first. This means reducing the number of carbs in our diet and instead focusing on foods such as boiled potatoes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and meat and fish.
Lowered carbs consumption, together with the rest of the five rules of leptin diets and at least some regular exercise should be enough to start slowly reversing leptin resistance. If not, taking medical supplements may be necessary too.
What is the leptin method for weight loss?
In essence, the leptin method focuses on slowly reducing the number of carbs and overall calories in your diet, as well as introducing a bit of exercise. This is done to slowly stimulate our bodies and brains to pick up the leptin signals indicating that we’re full and thus lowering our appetite.
How can I raise my leptin levels?
The main way to do that is to focus on foods that boost leptin instead of suppressing our bodies’ ability to recognize it. This means eating more vegetables, berries, healthy oils, whole grains, lean meat, salad greens, and legumes.