Nurture the Body with Real Food; Nurture the Spirit with Light and Truth!
In part one of this series we introduced the two wolves that dwell inside of us. One is named Wisdom, and the other is named Gratification. We discussed how to eat in a manner that allows you to maintain steady blood sugars between meals. We learned that unstable blood sugars lead to unhealthful and addictive eating patterns. In America, 93 percent of today's calories come from foods that are high in addictive qualities (animal-based foods and processed and refined foods), rather than foods which are high in nutrient content. This fact illustrates the main point of yesterday's discussion, that unstable blood sugars lead to addictive and unhealthful eating patterns. Unless you master the art of maintaining stable blood sugars, you will become trapped in cycles of eating that are dominated by the Gratification wolf.
Today's discussion is related to yesterday's discussion. Today's discussion recognizes leptin, an important hormone that plays a key role in regulating appetite, energy intake, and energy expenditure. Leptin was first discovered in 1994 when in controlled experiments at Rockefeller University, researchers noted that some mice being used in research became exceedingly obese while co-existing under the same conditions as other mice that remained slim and active. Researchers discovered a gene that controls the manufacturing of the hormone leptin. The obese mice suffered from a mutated leptin gene that did not support leptin production. When given the leptin hormone through injections, the obese mice became slim like the other mice. This was a startling discovery.
While the science surrounding this hormone is fairly new, this much has become clear, levels of leptin lower dramatically during fasting and during calorie-restricted diets that lower a persons food intake to less than 10 calories per pound of body weight. Leptin studies indicate that it is unwise to lower caloric intake to below 1200 calories during long-term weight loss and to below 1500 calories during other times, except during short-term fasting.
New leptin research with type 1 diabetic mice has demonstrated that when insulin is used with leptin, blood sugars remain more stable, cholesterol levels go down, and less body fat is formed. Research also demonstrates that when leptin, insulin, and melatonin are present together while you sleep, this combination of hormones naturally suppresses your appetite, leading to sound sleep.
What is the take home message regarding this research? Body fat, appetite, cholesterol levels, blood sugar stability, and sound sleep are each affected positively by maintaining a steady production of the hormone leptin. To maintain proper production of this hormone, strive to always consume 1200 calories or more per day while losing weight and never less than 1500 calories per day at other times, depending upon your maintenance caloric needs.
There are two basic dietary patterns we recommend that will maintain important levels of leptin, while at the same time they will also provide you with all other nutrients required by metabolism. First, enjoy whole fruits, vegetables, and grains (and/or legumes) three times daily, as per yesterday's discussion.
Second, if you suffer from grain related disorders, you may omit grain by enjoying whole fruits, leafy greens, and nuts and seeds together two to three times per day. The additional fruit will provide sufficient calories to maintain proper caloric intake. In addition, seek to enjoy a large veggie platter throughout the day, and enjoy a humus or other bean dip with your raw veggies. To the extent desired, you may also include as many non-starchy cooked vegetable dishes as you wish to this approach to eating.
With either of the two eating patterns mentioned above, consume a minimum of 1200 calories per day during weight loss and 1500 or more calories per day based upon your true caloric need. The average American needs 2000 calories per day.
The common starvation approach many people use to lose weight creates a yo-yo effect. As leptin production ceases or drops too low, this is eventually followed by uncontrollable hunger that lasts until leptin levels return to normal. Then the cycle begins again when after binging, individuals desiring further weight loss return to to starving, thereby stopping the leptin production again to set themselves up for another round of uncontrollable binging.
Remember, for both weight-loss and maintenance purposes steady as she goes with 1200+ calories per day of nutrient-dense food intake will stop the yo-yo affect while dieting. And, 1500 calories or more of the right calories will stop the viscious gratification cycle and will leash that wolf for good. Best!