The Maintenance Library - Article - Can't Keep The Weight Off? Perhaps Leptin Is The Culprit




Meg
07-08-2008, 02:40 PM
This is probably the most important article I've ever read in the mainstream media about weight maintenance. It finally acknowledges the role of biohormones in weight maintenance and the fact that the metabolisms of those who have lost more than 10% of their body weights are slowed by 15 - 20% as compared to a never-obese/overweight person. We've been talking about it here in the Maintainers forum for the past few years, but it never seems to be discussed anywhere else.

Can't Keep The Weight Off? Perhaps Leptin Is the Culprit (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121546349717633531.html)

I'm not sure the link will work because it's a subscription site. Let me know if you can't access it.

I have to quote the last paragraph of the article:

How do some people manage to overcome the leptin effect and keep weight off? Generally by watching their food intake very carefully and continuing to increase their physical activity. "Anybody who has lost weight and kept it off will tell you that they have to keep battling," says Dr. Rosenbaum. "They have essentially reinvented themselves, and they are worthy of the utmost admiration and respect."

That, in a nutshell, is what the Maintainers Forum is all about. :)


rockinrobin
07-08-2008, 02:53 PM
No Meg, the link is not working. :(

But I must tell you, that last line has brought tears to my eyes. Not sure why. I think it's the "reinventing" part of it all.

I didn't realize that our metabolisims was a whopping 15 - 20% slower. That's a BIG perecentage. I knew they were slower, thanks to you, but I didn't think it was THAT much of a slow down.

What exactly is leptin? And why is it wreaking havoc with me? I'd be curious to see the entire article.

I'm headed out to work just now. Will check in later.

Once again, thanks for the info.

Meg
07-08-2008, 03:01 PM
So, you ate less and exercised more and lost weight. But now the pounds are piling back on. You're hungrier than ever, and you can't seem to resist food. Once again, it's all your fault, right?

Wrong. Blame evolution, and the fact that for the vast majority of human history, famine was a bigger threat than flab. Even your seeming lack of will power is part of a complex biological system that drives humans who have lost weight to regain it, according to new brain-scan research by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center.

"Loosely put, after you've lost weight, you have more of an emotional response to food and less ability to control that response," says Michael Rosenbaum, lead author of the study in this month's Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The key driver of this system is leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells. When humans (and rodents) lose 10% or more of their body weight, leptin falls rapidly and sets off a cascade of physiological changes that act to put weight back on. Skeletal muscles work more efficiently, thyroid and other hormones are reduced -- all so the body burns 15% to 20% fewer calories, enough to put back 25 pounds or more a year.

This mechanism kicks in whether people are obese or relatively lean before losing weight -- and researchers believe the effect can last for years. In previous studies, giving subjects replacement leptin reversed the metabolic changes, in effect tricking the body into ignoring the weight loss.

The latest study shows that these metabolic changes are mirrored in altered brain activity when people lose weight. The Columbia researchers put six obese subjects on liquid diets and reduced their weight by 10%, then gave them replacement leptin or a placebo. At each stage, researchers observed their brain activity using functional MRIs when they were shown food and non-food items.

The scans showed that in the weight-reduced state, the subjects had more blood flow in areas of the brain that govern emotional and sensory responses to food and less in areas involving control of food intake. When the subjects were given replacement leptin, brain activity returned to what it had been before they lost weight.

There are still many unknowns about how blood flow in the brain corresponds to behavior. "I can't look at these scans and say, in 30 seconds, you're going to eat a banana," says Rudolph Leibel, a co-author of the Columbia study who helped discover leptin in the 1990s at Rockefeller University. Still, he says, the brain images provide further evidence of the powerful biological forces that send humans into survival mode, mentally and physically, when food is scarce and fat stores decline. "These people act as if they are hungrier, and combined with reduced energy expenditure, that's the 'perfect storm' for gaining weight."

Dr. Leibel also says that people should understand that regaining lost weight "is not free will. It's biologically determined and the species that didn't have this are the ones you see in the Museum of Natural History." It's only been in recent decades that this mechanism is contributing more to obesity than survival. "Now, anyone can summon an unlimited amount of food just with a cellphone," he says.

Scientists originally thought leptin might be harnessed as a weight-loss drug. Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. continues to research that possibility and is in Phase 2 trials of a combination of leptin and pramlintide, a diabetes drug. But leptin may hold more promise in helping to keep weight off, an area that the Columbia researchers say deserves more attention.

How do some people manage to overcome the leptin effect and keep weight off? Generally by watching their food intake very carefully and continuing to increase their physical activity. "Anybody who has lost weight and kept it off will tell you that they have to keep battling," says Dr. Rosenbaum. "They have essentially reinvented themselves, and they are worthy of the utmost admiration and respect."


The research article can be found here: Leptin reverses weight loss–induced changes in regional neural activity responses to visual food stimuli (http://www.jci.org/content/vol118/page2583)


yoyonomoreinvegas
07-08-2008, 04:10 PM
Wow! Just Wow! Thanks for posting this Meg!

So, that little voice that always told me "OK, your diet is over, eat whatever you want - then eat some stuff you don't really even want" is not just a figment huh? Well, I can see it now, I'll be wandering through the grocery store muttering "it's just my low Leptin!" when I pass the bakery aisle :lol: Plateaus and "mindless" eating make a little more sense too.

The author should have checked with you guys for validation of the part about "researchers believe the effect can last for years". :)

Once again though, I am always amazed to read some *new* research that is nothing more than what you 3FC veterans have been saying all along. Maybe you guys should apply for a research grant ;)

Ilene
07-09-2008, 08:36 AM
Thank you Meg, very interesting indeed. I have a very hard time as soon as I lose 10% or less even, of my weight. So I guess this means I have to buckle down and work harder...