The Leptin Eating Plan
The following information about the leptin eating plan is based on the book Mastering Leptin by Byron J. Richards.
The plan, although called a "diet", is less about restricting what to eat, and more about learning to adequately space out meals, avoid over-eating, and balance carbohydrates with protein.
The leptin eating plan is definitely contrary to the popular plans that advocate eating several small meals throughout the day.
If you suffer from frequent episodes of hypoglycemia throughout the day, eating less frequently can actually help stablize blood sugar and increase your energy!
If that last statement leaves you a little more than skeptical, I encourage you to take a closer look at the leptin eating plan, and consider giving it a trial run. This is not a sales page - there is absolutely nothing to buy or join, and you don't even need to read the book to give it a try. You can simply follow the 5 rules below. If it doesn't work for you, you'll only be out a few meals!
"Never Eat After Dinner"
Make sure you don’t go to bed with a full stomach – finish eating at least 3 hours before bedtime. Breakfast should follow 11-12 hours after your last meal of the previous day.
During the night, a number of important functions take place in the body, so it important that the body not have to compromise these functions by attending to digestion. Leptin levels naturally rise at night and signal the brain that the body isn’t hungry and doesn’t need to eat.
Whenever we eat, insulin levels rise and leptin levels fall. It takes approximately 3-4 hours for insulin levels to return to baseline after eating. According to Richards, the need to eat before bed is a key symptom of leptin imbalance.
"Allow 5-6 Hours Between Meals,
Eat 3 Meals a Day,
Do Not Snack"
Eating too often, or snacking between meals, upsets insulin and leptin levels.
It’s also important to understand that it takes approximately 3 hours for the body to “re-fuel” after eating, and during that time, the liver is not able to burn fat, and instead sends the fat into storage
Eating too often prevents the proper orchestration of refueling and fat burning to occur, and causes exaggerated insulin responses, and excessive cholesterol secretion. Richards suggests that you if you cannot at first go this long without food, that you slowly work up to it.
Rule # 3
“Do not eat large meals.
...Try to Finish a Meal Slightly Less Than Full...
Eating slowly is important.”
When we eat too much, we trigger excess insulin secretion and upset the hormones that regulate the digestive process – these activities can trigger hypoglycemic episodes within 3-4 hours after eating that cause us to try to prop our blood sugar levels back up by snacking between meals, which further disrupts the insulin and leptin levels.
Additionally, eating large meals stretches the stomach out and sets us up for over-eating again at the next meal. Richards suggests avoiding foods that naturally stretch the stomach and set us up for over-eating at our next meal, such as breads and popcorn.
Once you eliminate over-eating, your hormones function better, and energy levels are naturally increased.
Rule # 4
“Eat a breakfast containing protein.”
A protein-based breakfast stabilizes blood sugar and leptin levels, reduces fluid retention, and allows the liver’s metabolic functions to operate properly. Eating a proper breakfast becomes more important as you get older.
Rule # 5
“Reduce the amount of carbohydrates eaten.”
Eating too many carbohydrates can skew insulin and leptin levels in the body, and cause increased hunger and over-eating later in the day. A good rule of thumb is to try to visually match your carbohydrate portions with your protein portions.
My Leptin Story
I've made the leptin eating plan a main practice in my own life. While I didn't have all of the "classic" symptoms of leptin resistance, I decided to give the leptin eating plan a try because it just made "good sense" to me, and I noticed positive change in my energy levels almost immediately.
I've stayed with the plan because it has made an tremendous improvement on the overall way I feel. In particular, it has helped me do away with frequent blood sugar crashes, lethargy, and a general feeling of poor health. It’s boosted my energy levels, most impressively - helped me eliminate over-eating. I eat less food and no longer get hungry between meals.
About the Book
One further note – Richards’ book is not a light read. It is packed with well-researched, detailed information about how insulin and leptin work in our bodies. If you’re more of a light reader, you might want to read the chapter summaries, visit Richards’ website, or just try the 5-rule eating plan for 2 or 3 weeks and see if it is helpful for you. After all, if it makes you feel better, that’s what’s really important!
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