Different Foods Increase or Decrease Leptin Levels

More fat in the diet decreases leptin levels while a diet higher in carbohydrates increases leptin levels according to a study. Leptin, made by the body’s fat cells, is thought to help contribute to satiety, a feeling of fullness.

Intent on helping Americans fight obesity, Agricultural Research Service scientists are probing the role that leptin – a protein – plays in regulating appetite and weight gain.

Janet C. King and Ratna Mukherjea at the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, Calif., are using results from their preliminary study of leptin levels in breastfeeding moms to design an expanded investigation with pregnant and lactating women.

Their earlier study showed that mothers who ate more carbohydrates in relation to fat during the months they were breastfeeding had higher levels of leptin in their blood.

That’s in contrast to lactating moms who ate more fats than carbs – the exact opposite of what’s recommended in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines.

Higher leptin levels may help lose the weight gained during pregnancy.

King and Mukherjea’s findings are based on their statistical review, known as a multivariate analysis, of food records and blood leptin levels of 47 volunteers, aged 20 to 40.

The scientists collaborated with researchers from the University of California, Davis, and University of Maryland, College Park.

Their results about fats, carbs and leptin agree with those from a study led by physiologist Peter J. Havel of the University of California, Davis.

Havel analyzed food choices and leptin levels of 19 normal-weight, non-pregnant females, aged 20 to 43.

But the lactating moms experiment that King and Mukherjea led apparently is the first to look at leptin levels in postpartum women.

Women who, during pregnancy, exceed the rate and total amount of weight gain recommended in guidelines from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine are more likely to have complications just before or after delivery, and to retain the excess weight.

Overweight has been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

Sponsored Links

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Related articles:
Leptin and Insulin: The Effects of Glucose and Fructose
Dieting? Leptin Levels Affect Diet Response

More Articles of Interest:


  1. Thank you for taking the time to present information to the public on this complex leptin topic which impacts overweight and obese patients. As a bariatric endocrinologist I’m constantly reviewing clinical research wherever i can find it. Your opening sentence states “high fat diets decrease leptin levels”. Gee, if I didn’t know better, it would appear that you are saying we should eat a high fat diet to reduce our leptin levels because in other articles you have writen on leptin you imply that higher leptin levels in the blood in the general public are associated with weight gain. We know that higher leptin levels occur in obese patients due to leptin resistance so most dieticians and physicians encourage higher carb/fat diets with an emphasis on vegetable and fruit carbohydrates as opposed to starch and sugar carbohydrates. This kind of diet, in even an obese patient will lead to a REDUCTION in leptin levels, not an increase which of course we want to avoid.

    My take on this research is that pregnancy is a special case where higher postpartum serum leptin levels are beneficial in orignally trim pregnant women for the short term purpose of losing post-partum fat gained. When I speak on leptin to the patients of in my public talks, i make it clear that trim adults have low leptin levels. I explain that even though leptin goes up in the serum after a meal to decrease the appetite and therefore control the total calories consumed thus maintaining healthy weight, these trim adults, have lower leptin levels then leptin resistant overweight and obese adults. In your other articles you seem to agree with what I’ve just said but in this article I’m perceiving a cognitive disconnect.

    My point is, this article is entitled “Different foods affect different leptin levels” but presents information that to the general public is confusing because from the title the reader expects to receive information on how they can alter their diet to affect leptin levels, instead they get information that only applies to lactating women, and has no ultimate value for the non-pregnant diet conscious person. If it is confusing for a well educated medical person to read, imagaine how the general public might take it. Please consider rewriting this article such that you differentiate how this data applies to originally trim lactating women but not to the average person.

  2. My mother was very skinny all of her life. She was 5’5″ and weighed 95lbs when she was around 25yrs old. That is when I was born. I have always been chubby, overweight, pleasantly plump, just fat, and now obese. I do watch what I eat and do not eat great quantities of food and don’t usually eat is I am not hungery. I have had Type 2 Diabeties for 20 yrs. and still going strong. There is no obesity or diabetes in our family as far back as my mothers mother, etc. I do research on the web to try to find the magic cure all fat people look for. Is there a test I can ask my doctor to have done to check out my leptin hormones? So while I was in my mothers whomb, when and if she ate I supose because she was skinny she got all the good stuff because her body thought she was starving to death and I got all the deformed genes and no leptin and probably other chemicals and hormones that were inadequit for me to just plane old ordinarily thin.

Comments are closed.