How Leptin Resistance Ravages Your Body

In order to make your leptin work properly, your body needs to move it around freely. However, when your triglycerides are high, they block the leptin message in the brain. It’s like loud music. Triglycerides keep your brain from being wise about food; the music is blaring. The only way to let the leptin move freely around your body is to lower your triglycerides, ideally to less than 50 mg/dL. However, a good start is first lowering them to less than 100 mg/dL. Additionally, leptin resistance affects your immune and reproductive systems. When your immunity suffers, chronic inflammation develops. Leptin is a major player in the low-grade inflammation that won’t turn off in people who are over- weight or obese. Leptin resistance also impairs fertility and weakens your bones. A leptin imbalance can cause joint pain and damage because too much leptin accelerates the breakdown of cartilage in your joints. The level of leptin in your blood corresponds to the level in your joints: the more leptin, the more potential joint damage. 

The link between fructose, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and liver prob- lems is strong, but we are early in our understanding of why. While we still need randomized trials to show that fructose is the cause, evidence is mounting that you should stay away from liquid sugar, including juice, as well as any source of fruc- tose that is not high in fiber. That means avoiding soda (even diet soda), sports drinks, bread, cereal, energy bars, flavored yogurt, and condiments. Here are other factors that cause and/or worsen leptin resistance: 

Too much fructose. Eating excess fructose (over 20 grams per day) puts you at greater risk of leptin resistance because fructose is metabolized by the liver, an important regulator of your appetite and weight.¹⁰ I’ll teach you which foods contain fructose, and during this reset, you will stop eating them.  

Bad circadian rhythm. Leptin may get out of balance when you disrupt your delicate but incredibly important circadian rhythm by becoming addicted to caffeine, alcohol, or sugar. Eliminating these substances allows your body to get back to its natural rhythm.  

Sleep debt. Your leptin is also affected when you build up a sleep debt, the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep.¹¹ Studies show a link between

  weight gain, lack of sleep, and insulin resistance.¹² Furthermore, sleep debt leads to dietary indiscretion and weight gain in women because you’re too tired to make wise food choices.¹³ In other words, get that solid seven to nine hours that your body really needs. Regardless of your ability to seemingly function on less sleep, odds are that you need it: only 3 percent of the popu- lation has a gene allowing them to function well on less sleep. Get over being a type A woman, says Arianna Huffington, cofounder of The Huffington Post, in a 2011 TED talk. After fainting from exhaustion and breaking her cheek- bone, she has become an evangelist for getting a good night’s sleep. Turn off the television, take a warm bath, read a relaxing book, and make a commit- ment to going to bed earlier.  When you lose weight, insulin resistance and leptin resistance can resolve. But you may continue to stay sensitive to these important metabolic hormones even if you regain weight.¹⁴ That’s why resetting your hormones using the seventy- two-hour method is such a critical piece of your weight-loss strategy. 

Fructose is potentially risky if you have blood sugar problems. It’s the number one source of sugar in our diet, and it’s a molecule responsible for our addiction to sweet foods. The rise in fructose consumption is highly correlated with obesity, diabetes, and a liver problem called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which now af- fects one in three Americans. Yet I want to be careful not to demonize fruit across the board for all people. The issue is more nuanced. Here’s the problem as I see it: vegetables are the best medicine when it comes to healing hormone imbalances that cause broken metabolism. When experts tell women to eat seven to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, many women who are overweight simply eat more fruit—and don’t lose weight. That’s because existing blood sugar problems, found in half of U.S. women, make fruc- tose a problem. If you’re a normal eater and lean, with no blood sugar problems, fruit is fine. For the rest of us, there are shades of gray when it comes to eating whole fruit, avoiding juice, and limiting total fructose. When you heal your metab- olism, you can eat more fructose without causing weight gain, but let’s review cases for and against fructose. (For citations, go to bonus.) 

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