How to Reduce Deep Belly Fat by Looking at Leptin
If you want to eliminate belly fat, then you need to understand the role of leptin in weight loss. Because until you do, all of your fat burning efforts are very unlikely to work.
Leptin is a metabolic hormone that is produced in fat cells. Effectively, leptin controls three things:
- How much you need to eat to feel satiated
- Metabolism rate and ultimately your energy levels
Essentially, leptin regulates energy throughout your body. Specifically, it determines the calories needed coming in (so it tells brain your full and can stop eating) and also how much fat is currently stored in your body. On a survival level, leptin helps you avoid starvation and overeating.
How Leptin Works and Triggers the Brain to Burn Fat for Energy
Fat cells produce leptin. And the more fat you have, the more leptin gets produced. When you eat something, your body fat increases and thus elevates leptin levels. As leptin levels increase, it signals your brain to stop eating.
In simplest terms, it makes you feel full and satiated. When your leptin levels are lower due to not eating, it signals the brain that you’re hungry and need to eat. Also, when leptin levels are low, your brain tells your body to burn stored fat for energy in the meantime.
Unfortunately, none of this works as intended if you have something known as Leptin Resistance.
What is Leptin Resistance and How Does it Stop Fat Burning
To reduce deep belly fat, you need to lower your leptin levels so it forces the body to burn stored fat for energy instead of glucose (carbs). Now high levels of fat also lead to high leptin levels. Basically, the more fat you have stored, the higher your leptin levels will be. When everything is functioning properly, the high leptin levels signal to the brain that it doesn’t need more energy and hunger/cravings aren’t triggered.
However, leptin signaling can break down so that the brain doesn’t register it. When the brain can’t detect the leptin, this is called leptin resistance.
If your brain doesn’t detect leptin, this causes it to think you’re starving. So instead of eating less and elevating metabolism rate to burn more stored fat, the exact opposite happens. You actually start eating more due to increased cravings and your metabolism slows and burns fewer calories at rest.
How Leptin Resistance Destroys All Diets and Attempts to Burn Fat
Researcher believe that leptin resistance is what actually causes diets to fail. Regardless of your willpower, if your brain is triggering mechanisms normally reserved for when it’s starving, burning fat becomes nearly impossible. In fact, burning fat would lower leptin levels in your body but it doesn’t necessarily mean the leptin resistance would reverse. So, the brain continues to think it’s starving and does the following:
· Induces cravings that make us want to ingest more food and calories
· Causes us to need to eat more to feel satiated
· Lowers energy levels and incentive to exercise so we burn fewer calories at rest
If you have ever lost weight for a few weeks only to gain it back and possibly more, that is caused by leptin resistance. In fact, the lower metabolism rate causes results to plateau regardless of your willpower. To reduce deep belly fat, you need to reverse leptin resistance.
Why You Have Leptin Resistance in the First Place
Inflammation causes leptin resistance. Eating a high proportion of processed foods can cause dietary inflammation to occur. Inflammatory signals in the brain can interfere with it’s ability to detect leptin.
A high concentration of free fatty acids also leads to leptin resistance. Fat metabolites increase in your brain as a result and interfere with leptin signaling.
Lastly, high levels of leptin itself increase the risk of developing leptin resistance. Once it sets in, you are caught in a cycle that is very difficult to break out of.
The presence of significant levels of fat, especially in the belly, is one of the surest signs of leptin resistance. Again, if leptin was properly being detected, your brain would know it didn’t need any more fat stores and would burn them instead for energy.
How to Reduce Deep Belly Fat by Reversing Leptin Resistance
No single strategy alone reverses leptin resistance. It requires a sustained and multi-faceted approach to change diet and lifestyle. It takes years to develop leptin resistance and it will take a significant effort to reverse the condition. Here are the steps you need to take:
Significantly Increase Protein Consumption
Eating a diet high in protein naturally suppresses appetite and can lower caloric intake by up to 400 calories per day. In doing so, this will lower your current leptin levels and start to reverse the leptin resistance.
Drastically Cut Carbohydrate Use in Meals
Carbs cause two problems for sustained fat burning. First, they are “glucose” and the body absorbs and uses them immediately for energy instead of burning fat. That keeps your leptin levels elevated.
Second, carbs cause triglyceride levels to become elevates which interferes with leptin signaling. So by switching to a low carb diet, you are helping to reverse leptin resistance on two levels.
Stop Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods tend to be nutrient poor and instead filled with high levels of fat and refined sugars. Plus, processed foods lead to higher levels of dietary inflammation that causes leptin resistance. For your long term health and to reduce deep belly fat, try completely eliminating processed foods from your diet.
Implement Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercise
If you want to reverse leptin resistance, exercise is one of the most important strategies. Studies show that increased activity levels are one of the proven means of reversing leptin resistance. And while aerobic exercise like walking, swimming and jogging help, anaerobic exercise is actually more effective. Specifically, HIIT works well in reversing leptin resistance.
To Sum Up
Significant deposits of belly fat are one of the biggest indicators of leptin resistance. Unfortunately, no diet or exercise program can really help reduce deep belly fat while leptin signaling is not functioning properly. To reverse leptin resistance, you need to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle on many fronts to be effective. Until you do, dieting will remain ineffective and frustrating.