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What is the Connection Between Leptin and Obesity?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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The problem in society known as obesity has led many researchers and scientists around the world to speculate on the actual causes of obesity. Many researchers have looked into studying leptin and obesity, as leptin is a primary hormone which aids in keeping the body from consuming too much food. Changes in this hormone or a deviation from its correct function may give rise to overeating. Certain compounds and ingredients in common foods have been shown to decrease leptin sensitivity, such as fructose and refined sugar.

Leptin and obesity is an exciting topic of study because it involves a hormone which works to maintain homeostasis within the body at all times. Leptin is a hormone produced by the brain that tells the body it no longer needs to receive any more food and then sends these signals to the stomach, which the individual interprets as being full. Sometimes the brain makes a mistake, leading one to overeat because the feeling of fullness never presents itself. Hormonal imbalances are a major theory behind what causes obesity and has developed to include many studies which focus on certain foods that many decrease the productivity of leptin.

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Some research has been performed on certain ingredients and foods that may deter proper leptin signaling in the brain, thus leading an individual to overeat in an effort to satisfy perceived hunger. When leptin is not present, the hunger hormone grehlin will make the body feel hungry and will tell the brain it needs food. Certain foods that have been shown to decrease leptin and increase grehlin are fructose and refined sugars. Fructose, a monosaccharide, is very problematic in the fact that it will also raise triglycerides and put the body at risk for heart disease later on.

Although leptin and obesity are strongly connected in a number of studies, the hormone is not perceived as the leading cause of uncontrolled weight gain or obestiy. Rather, improper leptin signaling is seen as a major factor that might be acting alongside other major factors that drive the condition. Studies that use wide-scale analyses which combine all the known major factors may lead to a conclusion as to the actual cause of overweight issues. It is safe to say, however, that leptin and obesity are strongly correlated and are important factors to look at when dealing with losing weight or eating issues.

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