Leptin is a master-hormone related to your metabolism. Low leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in metabolic rate.
leptin is regulated by total amount of fat mass. A drop in leptin affects the other hormones negatively and vice versa. Low leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in metabolic rate, much like high leptin leads to a decrease in hunger and an increase in metabolic rate.
Exercise and fish oil improve leptin transport
In general, lean people have low levels of leptin while obese have high levels of leptin. However, in the latter case, leptin resistance develops. This is likely an effect of chronically elevated leptin, much like insulin resistance is an effect of chronically elevated insulin. Low fat mass equals low leptin. Can leptin sensitivity increase if weight is maintained on a low body fat % for a prolonged period of time? Sadly, there are no studies to suggest that for the time being. Can it increase through other means? Well, exercise and fish oil seem to improve leptin transport, so there’s that.
Most people diet too hard
Fat loss in the single digit body fat-range needs to be slow! Simple as that. A smooth transition into maintenance is the only way to minimizes muscle loss. We also believe it might help with the negative effect of dieting on leptin, which ultimately makes maintenance of low body fat achievable. Most people diet too hard, which has a profoundly negative effect on leptin – and this is part of the reason why the weight gain rebound is so common in folks who finally manage to reach their goal (and then screw up everything by binging).
Post-workout overfeeding will serve you well
Regular refeeds should be in place. This affects leptin positively and allows for maintenance of muscle and strength. Even if your goal ultimately is fat loss, entering an anabolic phase with post-workout overfeeding will serve you well. Intermittent fasting seems to have interesting effects on leptin synthesis. Whether this has benefits for low body fat maintenance or circulating mean leptin levels is up for speculation for the time being.
The once in a week cheat meal
In essence, when we consume fewer calories, our ability to tap in to those fat stores diminishes, as a result of low leptin. The once in a week cheat meal will mitigate that effect which allows fat mobilization to go on unabated.