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Fat Cell 8: For the Love of Leptin

Finding Tranquility in the Kitchen

By D. Thea BaldrickPublished 8 months ago Updated 7 months ago 3 min read
Fat Cell 8: For the Love of Leptin
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Oozing out of the fat cell is a hormone, leptin, a tiny molecule that has so much power it can stop a person from eating. In my case, that equates to a superpower. From the fat cell, the hormone floats along the bloodstream to the blood brain barrier, presents its admission card and passes through to the hypothalamus. The little molecule provides a double whammy to suppress the appetite. It initiates mechanisms that create fewer synapses that activate appetite neurons AND it increases the number of synapses that suppress the appetite.

So obese people have less leptin in their bloodstream, right?

Wrong. They have more.

Leptin molecule in public domain from https://www.ebi.ac.uk/

The problem seems to be that the leptin in obese subjects have more difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier because of oversaturation. It is as if the entrance is deluged with a mob waving their gold admission cards so the panicked doorperson slams the door shut. The details of the process are still being uncovered. There are other hypotheses but the phenomenon clearly indicates an unfortunate feedback loop. In obesity, the more one eats, the less efficiently appetite controls function. There are even a couple of studies that show losing weight and decreasing leptin levels may not decrease the leptin resistance; therefore, even at normal weight levels, the brain is not receiving or sending accurate signals about satiation, increasing the likelihood that the weight will be regained. [1] Beware.

Weighing in at 186.4. Down 1.4 lbs from the last post. 10.6 from the beginning. My first impulse at crossing the 10 lb. barrier was to buy myself something nice to wear - well, no, my very first impulse was to buy a bottle of champagne but I am pretty much done with alcohol.

My second thought was to buy something nice to wear and I might do that; something fair trade, supportive of community-oriented cultures and made of organic cotton, because I am looking more closely at the practices my money supports. That’s a sane concern.

In other ways, I have gone stark raving mad. I am cooking. Even more strangely for those who know me, I actually like it. Could it be possible that cooking has been such a stress because of exhaustion? I often gave the appearance of energy. I would bounce around in spurts and then crash with a book; but perhaps it was a manic type of energy. I am calmer now but I seem to be able to go all day long even in the kitchen.

Cooking is different now, too. I just do not like cooking food that is unhealthy. I want to know that the food I am feeding to the people I care about is doing good things for their insides and not building a base for heart-disease. What’s more, a child’s taste for various foods often morphs into an adult’s desire for those foods. [2]

It’s nice sometimes to give my grandchildren a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie because they appreciate it so much but it’s WONDERFUL to give them an oil-free, maple syrup sweetened whole-grain pumpkin spice muffin to discover they like it just as much. When my son, who was verging on high blood pressure at thirty years old, carefully tasted a pinto bean burger I made, and said with surprise, “It’s good,” and ate two on whole grain bread dotted with nuts and seeds, I wanted to cry, I was so happy.

One more thing about cooking plant-based-whole-foods that’s different from regular cooking: I eat as much of it as I want, guilt-free, if the meal is at least fifty percent greens and the rest whole grains. In the past, I have often sat down with trepidation to a meal I made, knowing I was going to overeat. That’s over. Regardless of the state of my personal leptin resistance, it’s hard to eat too much when everything consumed has so much bulk. There’s only so much physical room in the digestive tract.

[1] Izquierdo AG, Crujeiras AB, Casanueva FF, Carreira MC. Leptin, Obesity, and Leptin Resistance: Where Are We 25 Years Later? Nutrients. 2019 Nov 8;11(11):2704. doi: 10.3390/nu11112704. PMID: 31717265; PMCID: PMC6893721.

[2] Małachowska A, Jeżewska-Zychowicz M. Does Examining the Childhood Food Experiences Help to Better Understand Food Choices in Adulthood? Nutrients. 2021 Mar 18;13(3):983. doi: 10.3390/nu13030983. PMID: 33803655; PMCID: PMC8002996.

diethealthlifestylescienceweight losswellness

About the Creator

D. Thea Baldrick

By wedding two strange bedfellows, bachelor degrees in Biology and Literature, the resulting chimeric offspring are stories laced with science. I publish with thecollector.com and Underland Arcana. Unearth at dthea.com

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  • Kathryn Wicker8 months ago

    So have they studied if a person loses weight and keeps it off - does the leptin barrier issue go away? Get better? It would be nice to know that it might get better. Oh and I'm making a chickpea lentil soup that will be made into 3 meals: chickpea and noodle soup, chickpea/lentil pot pie (with fat free crust of chickpea flour mixed with whole wheat and ground flax seeds) and then finishing up the soup as chickpea and dumplings. Sound good?

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