Weight loss is an industry of billion dollars. The hectic lifestyle, fast food and unhealthy eating habits have led to an increase of the overweight population.
Obesity is already a national problem, even among children. Scientists and marketers alike try to offer solutions for all these people to shed their extra pounds and become able to control their weight.
There are hundreds of diets and slimming pills out there, weight loss programs, special suits and workout routines meant to help us achieve our weight goals. Despite all these, very few overweight and obese persons manage to shed weight and keep it off for long periods of time.
The yo-yo effect is much more common, as people tend to lose weight while on a diet, but gain it back once they return to their previous eating habits. Many of them gain even more, and then find it more difficult to lose it again.
The main cause of this yo-yo effect is that the metabolism slows down during strict diets. The braid sends the body warning messages that food is scarce, so it should be stored.
The body slows down its vital functions and starts to deposit fat, in order to prepare for the hard times announced by the brain. This is why obese people may not lose weight even if they only eat small amounts of food.
Modern scientists have discovered these issues are caused by a naturally occurring hormone in our body, which is called leptin.
The more of it the body makes, the more we are able to burn fat and turn food into energy. This means an increased level of leptin should be the key to a beautiful, slender body. However, things aren’t that simple.
Under the effect of dieting, the body starts producing more leptin, but at the same time it becomes less sensitive to it. The body makes it, but the brain has no idea the leptin is there, so it behaves as if the leptin levels were low. This is known as leptin resistance and it is the biggest enemy of weight loss.
In normal situations, big quantities of leptin in the body should act as an alarm signal for the body to stop eating. However, the brain fails sending this signal, as it has no idea how much of this hormone is there in the body.
The mechanism of leptin resistance works is very similar to the insulin resistance mechanism in the type 2 diabetes. In this case, the pancreas produces enough insulin, yet the brain has no idea about it, thus sending the wrong signals to the other organs.
This is how it comes that fat people get even fatter, even if they eat normal amounts of food. The body of an overweight person produces more leptin, in order to deal with the fat the right way. Unfortunately, since the brain can’t see it, it may not be there at all, as it makes no difference to the behavior of the body.
This is also why these people with leptin resistance don’t get the satiety sensation once their leptin levels start to rise. They keep on eating, because their brain doesn’t tell them they are actually full and they should stop immediately.
The more they eat, the more calories their body has to burn. However, since their metabolism is extremely ineffective, the extra calories are stored as fat, making them even bigger.
This is a crazy situation, as there’s no way to break this pattern that prevents people from losing weight.
Some doctors try to give their patients leptin supplements, hoping they are going to be perceived by the brain. Nonetheless, this happens in only a handful of cases.
The rest of the patients don’t manage to lose enough weight to become healthy. Their last solution is probably bariatric surgery. Having a tiny stomach forces you to eat only very small amounts of food, so you inevitably lose weight.
However, these people aren’t well in their lives, as something is missing. It’s much better to be able to enjoy foods and drinks like everybody around you, and yet maintain your current weight. This is still a dream of many weight losers out there. Hopefully, some day the leptin resistance is going to be defeated.
If people can beat this behavior of their body, they are going to be able to control their food intake much better. The result is going to be positive in most cases, so obesity is going to decrease. This is good news, but the future isn’t here yet.
For the time being, overweight people struggle with diets and workout routines, in their hope of becoming slimmer. Some of them manage to achieve their goals, but almost all of them gain the weight back within ten years or so.