Posted by: faithful | August 19, 2007

scientific american and obesity + leptin diet recommendations

Article 1.

Eating Made Simple; September 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by Marion Nestle; 10 Page(s)

As a nutrition professor, I am constantly asked why nutrition advice seems to change so much and why experts so often disagree. Whose information, people ask, can we trust? I’m tempted to say, “Mine, of course,” but I understand the problem. Yes, nutrition advice seems endlessly mired in scientific argument, the self-interest of food companies and compromises by government regulators. Nevertheless, basic dietary principles are not in dispute: eat less; move more; eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and avoid too much junk food.

“Eat less” means consume fewer calories, which translates into eating smaller portions and steering clear of frequent between-meal snacks. “Move more” refers to the need to balance calorie intake with physical activity. Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains provides nutrients unavailable from other foods. Avoiding junk food means to shun “foods of minimal nutritional value”–highly processed sweets and snacks laden with salt, sugars and artificial additives. Soft drinks are the prototypical junk food; they contain sweeteners but few or no nutrients.

Article 2

This Is Your Brain on Food; September 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by Kristin Leutwyler Ozelli; 2 Page(s)

Mounting evidence shows that compulsive eating and drug abuse engage some of the same brain circuits in similar ways, offering a new angle for understanding and treating obesity. In an interview with Scientific American, Nora D. Volkow, who is director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and a pioneer in the study of addiction, explains these recent findings.

The system in the brain that both food and drugs activate is basically the circuitry that evolved to reward behavior essential to our survival. One reason humans are attracted to food is because it is rewarding and pleasurable. When we experience pleasure, our brains learn to associate the sensation with the conditions that predict it. That memory strengthens as the cycle of predicting, seeking and obtaining pleasure becomes more reliable. In scientific terms, we call this process conditioning.

Leptin is a hormone that assists in regulating both appetite and metabolism. Leptin was only discovered in 1994 – therefore research is only very recent.

Leptin levels are generally proportional to body fat, as leptin is released by fat cells. It is thought that many obese people may have developed leptin resistance – whereby the body fails to respond to leptin signals. This begins a cycle where more leptin is produced.

Leptin Diets

  • The Rosedale diet by Dr. Ron Rosedale explores dietary solutions for correcting leptin imbalances.
  • The Fat Resistant Diet by Leo Galland is anti-inflammatory diet that also addresses leptin.
  • Mastering Leptin by Byron Richards (2004) also addresses leptin imbalances. The basic rules of the diet are explained here…

The 5 Rules of Mastering Leptin

  1. Never eat after dinnerDon’t eat 3 hours before bedtime or go to bed on a full stomach. Allow 11-12 hours between dinner and breakfast. For approximately the first 6-8 hours after eating our evening meal, the body is burning up the calories from that day. The best fat burn zone may occur 8 and 12 hours after eating. Snacking before bedtime (or late meals) means that leptin tells the brain that no energy is required, and thus no fat burning will occur in the night.
  2. Eat 3 meals per dayAllow 5-6 hours between meals with no snacks.Snacks will stimulate release of insulin – and during this time the body is not burning fat. If it is difficult to consume 3 meals a day, start with 4 per day. In time, with regular exercise, you will be able to leave 5 hours between meals.
  3. Do not eat large mealsProviding the body with more fuel than it needs can lead to both leptin and insulin resistance. Reduce meal sizes by learning to eat slowly and to chew properly. Put the fork down from time to time. This gives your appetite a chance to catch up with your food intake.
  4. Eat a high-protein breakfastA high-protein breakfast will minimize afternoon energy “crashes”. These energy crashes are often the result of eating a breakfast with too many carbohydrates and very little protein. People who are leptin resistant, and eat high carbohydrate breakfasts, are more likely to overeat.
  5. Reduce the amount and glycemic index of carbohydrates eatenThis doesn’t imply very low or very restricted carbohydrates. However the amount of starchy carbohydrate should be matched with the same portion of protein. Fibrous vegetables can be eaten in abundance.

Leptin Sample Meal Plans:


Sample Meal Plan:  Rosedale

Eggs ‘Benefit’ (recipe in book)


Chicken salad

Avocado spread on celery stalks

Dilled Salmon and fresh asparagus
Salad of your choice

2.  Galland Alternative Plan:


  • Four free range eggs
  • Two pieces sprouted grain bread
  • Berries 1/2 cup
  • Walnuts 1/4 cup

Lunch or Dinner

  • Chicken breast or salmon or lean steak 6 – 8 oz
  • Whole grain high fiber pasta or slow cook brown rice or mixed vegetables 1 cup
  • Avocado large 1/2 or 1/4 cup nuts
  • Flax meal 1 tbsp mixed with pasta or rice or vegetables
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp mixed with pasta or rice or vegetables
  • Spices – ginger, cumin, turmeric
  • Berries or grapes 1/2 cup or apple

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