Did you know that low Leptin levels can cause cravings? Stop sugar cravings with Leptin enhancing foods and you’ll be able to manage or overcome your cravings once and for all.
There can be nothing worse when following a healthy diet than to struggle all day with cravings. Despite your best efforts you find you have an image of a cookie in your mind that is begging you to raid the kitchen cupboards.
For those of us who are addicted to carbohydrates, especially sugar, this is an all too familiar scenario.
You may have spent days or weeks following a healthy keto diet, only to find yourself overwhelmed by the urge to binge on just the foods that you know you shouldn’t eat.
Even if you’re losing weight, and feeling super healthy on your diet, you risk it all because of powerful uncontrollable cravings.
If this is you, and it’s certainly me, you have probably tried many things to overcome this issue. From not storing the craved items in your home, to attempting to go without them for weeks or months in the hope that you’ll “get over” the cravings.
Further, I’m pretty sure that nothing you’ve tried so far has helped you to deal with these diet busting cravings.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings With Leptin
There are several causes of food cravings and these include:
- A nutritionally poor diet – proteins and fiber can help you to feel full for longer. If you are short of these, its possible that you’re getting hungry in between meals, and this is triggering your craving (1)
- Lack of sleep – when you get insufficient sleep you’ll have higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol can make your body less receptive to Leptin which could make your food cravings a lot stronger, especially towards the end of the day. This is especially true of sugar cravings (2)
- Processed foods – these foods are developed to be as addictive as possible by using high levels of sugar and fats. If you’re eating too many processed foods you are going to increase your need for more. (3)
- Imbalance of gut bacteria – it’s possible your gut bacteria is out of balance. You may have too few of the healthy type, and way too many of the sugar- loving bad type. These bad bacterias will send signals to your brain begging for more sugar to feast on. See here if you think this may be an issue for you.
On top of these causes, there is a less well-known cause:
Low Leptin : This is the hormone that signals hunger and fullness, and in some people this will trigger strong cravings.
What is Leptin?
Leptin is a hormone that helps to regulate eating and to control the amount you eat. It is known to be able to reduce your appetite.
On top of this, Leptin also helps you to maintain your ideal weight.
Leptin is found in the body’s fat cells, so the more fat that you have, the more Leptin you will be able to produce.
Unfortunately for some people who are over weight or obese, their extra weight can cause them to become Leptin insensitive.
For these people, even though they have good levels of Leptin, their body is unable to use it to help control appetite and cravings.
However, under normal circumstances the amount of available Leptin is directly related to the amount of body fat you have.
The hormone Leptin is directly linked to the amount of body fat you have. If you have a lot of fat, your Leptin levels will be high. If you have low body fat, your Leptin levels will be low:
This is the reason why you’ll find that your cravings will get worse when you’re losing weight. It has nothing to do with a lack of will power and everything to do with your hormones.
Once you understand this, you’ll be able to stop beating yourself up about ruining your diet with a binge: you’ll be able to take the appropriate steps to make sure that your Leptin levels are at the best level to reduce or eliminate your cravings.
How can you increase Leptin levels and reduce cravings without gaining weight?
Foods with Leptins are not very efficient at increasing the levels of Leptin in your body.
This is due to the fact that it’s difficult for the Leptin in food to become available for your brain.
So does this mean that you can’t eat certain foods as a way of enhancing your Leptin levels?
Not at all : Fortunately, it’s been found that there’s an important relationship between Leptin and triglycerides.
Research has proved that high triglycerides change the way Leptin works in the body. A diet that is designed to lower triglycerides could help to boost Leptin in your body.
This is good news for your cravings, and for your general health too. A high level of triglycerides is basically high levels of fat in your blood.
These high levels of triglycerides are linked to increased chances of developing heart disease.
Which foods help to increase Leptin levels?
It’s now known that foods which lower triglycerides will help you to boost your Leptin levels.
Following this, the mosts effective way of using food to increase your Leptin ( and thus reduce sugar cravings) is to learn which foods contain the important triglycerides lowering properties.
This is the indirect approach which has been proved to be the most efficient way of increasing your Leptin levels.
The best foods for low triglycerides/ high Leptins are:
- Unsweetened teas – green tea, herbal teas and fruit infusions are all able to lower triglycerides and increase your Leptin levels.
- Healthy oils – olive oil and nut butters are great. Avoid seed oils.
- Non starchy vegetables – avoid root vegetables and go for the lower carb above ground ones instead. Cauliflower is a great example.
- Fish – fish is great at reducing triglycerides. Fish also contains omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty acids can increase your body’s sensitivity to Leptin. Try to include fish in your diet as often as you can. Consider eating fish at least twice each week.
- Mushrooms – these are nutritious and will help to keep triglyceride levels low, giving your Leptin a boost at the same time.
However, even if you’re not following a keto diet, it’s still a good idea to avoid simple carbs as much as possible
Finally, make sure you eat enough : Try to follow a low carb or keto diet rather than reduce calorie intake.
There is a lot of evidence that the old calories in / calories out method does not work. It fails to deliver long term results for weight loss.
Importantly, a calorie restricted diet will also reduce your levels of Leptin.
The take home message about sugar cravings and leptin:
Leptin is the hormone that controls appetite and maintains weight.
If you suffer food cravings, a low level of Leptin will make those cravings a lot worse.
To avoid this you need to make sure that your Leptin levels are as high as they can be by getting enough sleep and by eating a healthy diet.
Base your diet on complex carbohydrates, and eat a low carb diet if possible. Choose above ground vegetables, berries, healthy fats and fish. These foods will all help to boost your Leptin levels.
Make sure you avoid simple carbohydrates, and completely remove seed oils, Processed foods and fructose from your diet.
Don’t attempt to lose weight fast by going hungry or by not meeting your nutritional needs each day.
Consider a low carb or keto diet which will work with your hormones to help you lose weight without under eating.
Unfortunately, the cause of sugar cravings is a complex and difficult issue for many.
However, by taking care of your gut bacteria and following the recommended lifestyle and food changes, you should be able to manage or eliminate your cravings altogether.