Fat Loss 101: Leptin And Hunger Is Not An Issue If You’re Fat Adapted and Fully Nourished

Today we return to T-Nation and their CCO Chris Shugart as he tries to tackle the “issue” of leptin on badly constructed “fat loss diets.”
Leptin is believed to be a ‘hormone’ produced primarily by fat tissue in the body. It’s said to play a crucial role in weight regulation and energy balance as it signals the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, to regulate appetite and metabolism.

So, let’s see what Mr. Shugart has to say this time, and I’ll use my 30+ years of real-world experience in the field and my understanding and expertise of human physiology to add my bits along the way.

Losing fat decreases leptin release, which makes you want to gnaw your arm off. Here’s how to fight that to make fat loss easier.

I’ve never experienced this feeling of hunger or cravings as in wanting to “gnaw my arm off” during a cutting diet, not even when getting close to bodybuilding contest shape, much less any hunger at all — nor have any of my clients. But then again, I make sure that we get all the nutrients that we need from animal-based foods. Hunger and cravings are mostly a symptom of nutrient deficiencies. As for leptin, we’ll come to that.

Your body hasn’t kept up with the times. As remarkable as it is, it’s like inheriting a car with a cassette player instead of device ports. You can’t charge your phone, but hey, you can bang your head to a Quiet Riot tape.

The human body is kinda like that. It still thinks you may starve to death at any moment. To help you survive, this highly efficient energy storage machine is equipped with all the latest technology of 250,000 years ago.”

I’m sorry Chris, but were you dropped on your head as a baby? Our human body is constructed for prolonged fasting, as in starvation, as in periods of famine. Otherwise we would never have survived as a species. And this is why our body is so extremely clever with upregulating growth hormone, protecting muscle mass and turning on autophagy, our recycling machinery, when we have been without food for more than 16 to 24 hours. And while our metabolism is somewhat slowed down during fasting, it comes right back the moment you eat again. It’s only when you follow a diet that is low in nutrients and energy that you damage your metabolism. This is why we who understand human physiology instead utilize a diet rich in nutrients and energy just above maintenance while adding days of fasting to quickly cut body fat without damaging our metabolism or hormone production.

And as for easily gaining fat, that is a new phenomenon that emerged with the rise of  agriculture and food processing — as in consuming unnecessary and toxic carbohydrates and seed/vegetable oils. Before industrialization, there were no obese people. It’s virtually impossible to become overweight, much less obese, from only consuming animal fats and proteins, as in meat, organ meats, and animal fat. If you follow our natural species-appropriate carnivorous diet you will have a natural athletic body with good muscle definition and still enough body fat to sustain you for weeks of fasting.

One of those tricky bits of tech is called leptin. You know it as the satiety/fullness hormone that helps regulate hunger, energy balance, and body weight. You may not know that it’s released from your own energy reserves: fat cells. And that’s where it gets tricky.

Still worried about starvation, your body fights against your efforts to lose fat. “Hey, I was saving that!” it says. “Oh, you want to see your abs? Idiot! You’ll die in the winter!” To work against your silly physique goals, the body starts manipulating leptin.

Again, no. As a man, you should have visible abs and defined muscle bellies, and have around 6 to 12% of body fat. That is our natural state, and you will automatically end up in that range if you consume your species-appropriate foods.

Your body will only fight you and hold on to fat if you have nutrient deficiencies, if you have damaged your natural fat-adapted metabolism by consuming carbohydrates, and if you are very toxic, as toxins are stored in fat tissue and your body does not want to release all those toxins at once, rather in a slow pace so you can detoxify (which is not possible if you have nutrient deficiencies and are not fully healthy.) Leptin has very little to do with this, unless you’re extremely unhealthy, and we’ll come to that.

The Leptin Paradox

Like all hormones, leptin’s character alignment is “true neutral.” It’s neither good nor bad; it just seeks balance. Low leptin levels trigger hunger and reduce energy expenditure: your body tells you to eat something and slows your metabolism. The problem? Getting ripped involves eating less and burning more calories.”

Eating less and burning more stored energy is the retarded approach. Eating less on a daily basis is perceived as starvation and your body will quickly adjust. And since most people don’t know how to eat, as in solely animal-based foods, eating less is a recipe for nutrient deficiencies, and that is the big elephant in the room. Again, a smart approach is to consume nutrient-dense foods above maintenance for 4 to 5 days a week, and then undereat or even fast for 2 to 3 days a week. That approach solves all “problems” of a traditional and highly retarded diet where you starve yourself on a daily basis.

How bad is this reduction of the “I’m not hungry” hormone? Well, to test the extreme, researchers took some already lean men (9% body fat) and put them into a caloric deficit of 60%. Half the men dropped a ton of calories to get into that big deficit and half used a combo of lower calories and increased cardio to hit that same deficit.

Both groups lost a bit over 4 pounds in four days, and both groups saw a 52 and 56% decrease in leptin production. (The cardio + diet group had the worst drop.) That means they were hungry, suffering, and probably annoying to everyone around them.

The approach these “researchers” took is extremely stupid, and that should be obvious to anyone. An energy deficit of 60% and when most likely consuming plant-based processed garbage will put you in extreme starvation mode. And guaranteed, the people in the study were likely not well-nourished to begin with, as that is only possible by consuming a lot of animal-based foods daily, as in meat and animal fat (which very few do nowadays.) If you do not do that, you most certainly have nutrient deficiencies and your body is running on fumes. So, a 60% reduction upon that will really “f**k you up!” And for cardio, that is an extreme stressor and also completely idiotic. There is no need for “cardio” ever.

Now, you also need to understand how the body produces leptin. Although it’s produced by adipose (fat) tissue, it does not miraculously appear out of thin air. As with any “hormone,” your body needs the stimulus of other hormones such as insulin, glucagon, cortisol, ghrelin, and the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4.) It also needs adequate levels of available nutrients, such as amino acids, saturated fats, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals.

So, as you can see from this extreme and retarded study, leptin did not decrease because they lost a little bit of body fat in four measly days, it decreased because they starved themselves and stressed the f**k out of their bodies. And if you are not fat-adapted and also have nutrient deficiencies, the effect of leptin will be noticed and you will get hungry and experience cravings — but that is because you are malnourished, you are starving and lacking vital essential nutrients and you can’t use fat efficiently as fuel.
If you do the same experiment with someone who has been following our natural species-appropriate diet and has more than adequate nutritional stores, none of this will happen. We who eat according to our species can easily fast for 7 to 14 days without any kind of hunger or cravings. Reducing our food by 60% for measly four days would be a breeze. It would not even be a challenge. I wouldn’t even notice it. But if your diet sucks and you’re metabolically unhealthy and not fat-adapted, then… Well, you get the picture.

After this Chris mentions that too much leptin can also be a bad thing, as in people who constantly overeat. Well, that is mostly because they consume complete garbage void of real nutrition. They are overfed but undernourished. They eat a ton of crap but still have serious nutrient deficiencies so they still get hungry and experience cravings although they just had a meal. That is why it is so important to have a solid base of animal-based food in your diet. It’s the only source of bioavailable nutrients.


1. Eat More Protein

Higher protein diets increase leptin production – the amino acids influence leptin gene expression. Some studies show that diets higher in protein lead to greater leptin secretion from adipose tissue compared to diets high in carbs or fats. Protein-rich diets also improve leptin sensitivity via improved insulin sensitivity.

As with all “hormones,” amino acids are needed for their production. Also, protein is muscle-sparing and used for all tissue repair, so it’s crucial for our survival. Not getting enough protein is a sure-fire way to put your body in starvation mode and get hungry.

And after this Chris plugs their protein powders. However, the best source is of course meat, preferable from ruminant animals and fattier cuts, so you get the extremely important saturated fats that are needed for all functions in our bodies, including providing us with energy.

2. Boost Omega-3 Intake

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, positively affect leptin levels and sensitivity in several ways. Remember, chronic inflammation impairs leptin signaling in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hunger and energy balance. DHA tamps down this inflammation and improves leptin sensitivity.

Also, high triglyceride levels inhibit leptin transport across the blood-brain barrier. Omega-3s reduce triglyceride levels, which enhances leptin transport and improves its signaling.

No, inflammation is our natural response to an ongoing healing process. While nutrients will aid in that process and speed it up, they do not “fight” or “block” inflammation. Anything that does that is extremely bad — because if you stop inflammation, you stop the healing process.

And chronic inflammation is simply continuous ongoing healing of tissue which happens if you do not correct the problem that causes that damage while your body is compromised, likely by nutrient deficiencies, so it can’t keep up and finish the healing. And if the tissue is damaged and under constant healing, it will not respond to hormones as well as healthy tissue, so of course, it “impairs” leptin signaling. That is common sense.

While omega-3 and other nutrients only found in animal-based foods will fix any nutrient deficiencies and increase healing, the best way to get them is to consume solely animal-based foods, especially beef and eggs, and the occasional fatty fish and/or fish roe. Forget about supplements (that Shugart of course recommends,) I’ve covered these fish oil and omega-3 supplement scams in-depth on this website.

And as for triglycerides, just stop consuming toxic carbohydrates and seed/vegetable oils.

The “Suck It Up” Phase

When you start losing fat, there will be a period when your body fights back, partly by messing with leptin. Soon, leptin sensitivity increases, and everything gets balanced out.

But there is a “suck it up” period as you and your doomsday-prepper body come to an agreement. Increase protein and DHA intake and this phase won’t last as long or be as painful.

Again, the typical bro-science retarded bodybuilding advice. “Suck it up bro, eat your nutritionless rice, your overcooked cod and chicken breast, and have some toxic broccoli.”
Frikkin’ idiots. Again, I’ve laid out the perfect fat loss plan several times and I have a couple of articles dedicated to it. And if you still need help, I’m available.

And as for leptin and hunger, you need to understand that it’s a combination of multiple signaling pathways warning you. You will only experience hunger and cravings if you are malnourished, as in having one or multiple nutrient deficiencies and/or if you consume way too little protein or animal fats. Protein is hardly a problem for most, especially not in the fitness community. However, nutrient deficiencies and lack of animal fat is prevalent as retarded “coaches” recommend only the leanest cuts of meat, such as chicken breast and white fish, the animal-based foods that also are the lowest in nutrients. To this they add useless carbohydrates, usually from toxic rice and potatoes, which has zero nutritional value. Then they add some veggies that are even worse. Extremely toxic, full of defense chemicals and antinutrients that bind to the little nutrition you would actually get from the lean meat and thus render that useless. And then they add the extremely toxic seed/vegetable oils that wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. And you are surprised that you get hungry and experience cravings on a diet that mimics starvation? Come on, figuring this out should be extremely easy. Unfortunately, for most people trapped in bro-science and the pseudo-science of nutrition,  it’s not.

In a healthy human that follows our natural species-appropriate carnivorous diet, leptin will never be a problem, not even if you’re extremely lean. Myself, at the age of 50, I’m about a muscular 6% body fat and thriving. That is because I’m fully nourished. I eat as much as I can during 5 to 6 days a week, and then I cut back 50% or sometimes fast for 1 or 2 days. The “secret” is simply to focus on nutrient-dense foods like beef, eggs, liver, kidneys, bone marrow, brain, heart, and then add in some extra tallow, lard, and/or butter. It’s that simple.

Also, your ‘sensitivity’ towards leptin will adjust according to your amount of body fat and nutritional status. As long as you’re fully nourished, leptin will not interfere and make you “hungry” even at extremely low levels of body fat. I can attest to that myself, and so can hundreds of my clients throughout the years.

If you have questions or need guidance with any weight- or health related problems, or if you need help with transitioning to our natural species-appropriate carnivorous way of eating, I’m available for both coaching and consultation.
And if you found the article and my insights helpful and enjoy my free information, please consider donating to help pay the webhosting bills and keep the site running. Thank you!

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