Harnessing the Power of Leptin To Transform Your Body, Your Brain, and Your Life

Ready or not, the science is in: The largest dietary studies in history, such as Stanford’s A to Z study and the Swedish Council on Health and Technology Assessment review of 16,000 dietary studies, have clearly shown that low-carb diets reign supreme for both weight loss and health. Sweden has declared “LCHF” (Low Carb High Fat) as their official diet. Norway followed. The USDA won’t “go there” yet, but they did strike cholesterol from their list of things to avoid for the first time since 1980. Ivy league cardiologists are admitting being wrong for forty years. Time put a pat of butter on the cover last year and reported that fat-phobia (in both culture and the medical world) was based on… um… flawed science.

What next, you say? Are they going to tell us lard is healthy? Well… yeah. Lard recently won out over other common “healthy” oils for promoting the most longevity in calorie-restricted rodents. Low carb was the diet that allowed cancer-fighting herbs like turmeric to actually work (they could not in the presence of sugar). Very low carb diets are being used as cancer treatment. Will this “craziness” stop? I hope not. I’ve been waiting for this truth to come out for twenty-five years. The Truth About Beauty... Kat James Best Price: $1.97 Buy New $13.96 (as of 10:20 EDT - Details)

Maybe you’re hip and have already adopted some incarnation of a low-carb, low-glycemic, grain-less, or even Paleo (the little black dress of semi-low carb diets) eating style. If so, you’ve probably reaped many rewards. But what if you could feel even better? Even freer of cravings, stubborn “soft spots”, sleep, joint, or mood problems or things you’ve chalked up to just getting older. And if you still have “issues” with food, you really need to know this: You’re about to learn about the granddaddy of “weird tricks” that every human has in their genetic toolbox, yet few of us utilize, even in our advanced pursuits of health. It’s a mechanism you can turn on or off for the rest of your longer, more vibrant life. Here’s how I know…

Fumbling Toward Biochemical Ecstasy

Way back in 1990 I woke up from my own fat-phobic trance as a twelve-year eating disorder digressed into autoimmune thyroid and skin syndromes, then near liver failure. With no internet I researched the notorious immunosuppressant drug I was supposed to take, finding that there was not much hope for healing my liver unless I looked at alternatives. I was skeptical about herbs but wound up surprising both my doctor and myself by bringing my sky-high liver enzymes back to normal over a few months by taking them.  But my bingeing, even on organic “health foods”  continued hopelessly, in spite of “white knuckling” my way through each day, determined not to succumb… Then several months later, on two occasions, while traveling, I experienced strange, fleeting periods of respite from the usual cravings, energy slumps, and moodiness. These two, distinctive “incidents” were so bizarre to me that I became obsessed with replicating that unforgettable feeling for more than a year, writing down any food combination, omission, or addition that preceded the phenomenon, but unable to sustain it continually. The one food that always preceded that elusive, deeply-sated, calm state, was the last food I would have imagined would soon become my go-to “sanity” food: Fat. I had not been eating much fat but had noticed that feeling throughout midday when I ate fat instead of grains at breakfast. I added fat to my quinoa or sprouted bread at lunch with my salad and with my stir-fry at night.  I’d been vegetarian for seven years. I was amazed at how each time I decreased grains and upped the fat I felt better and sustained that “freedom feeling” longer and longer. I did not imagine ever cutting them out altogether, though. And more unimaginable than that would be cutting out dozens of other health foods I would learn could yank me out of this new way of feeling.

My weight loss and skin changes had become significant just from these changes, but nothing prepared me for what would happen when I finally got up the nerve to cut out  not only all my grains, even at lunch and dinner, but also anything else that I’d been eating prior to any energy lulls. About two days into this drastic experiment, several truly shocking things happened: 1) My appetite suddenly dropped by about half. I found myself staring at the remainder of my mouthwatering lunch and could not eat another bite. It was surreal. 2) My energy suddenly became so steady that I forgot about the time of day or when the next meal was. 10am felt the same as 3pm and 9pm. 3) A sudden loss of facial and body-wide swelling—previously unmoved by years of intense exercise—visibly reduced overnight. My rings spun in the morning. Clothes were immediately loose, and finally: 4) My body suddenly demanded much more fat. This was not premeditated or learned, but an unexpected, “primal” physical demand that stunned me. My body no longer “saw” most of what was in my refrigerator as food.  I was bewildered by this new urge. No meal was complete without ample fat anymore. A week or so later, I was compelled to eat meat again. Not long after that, I remember washing off my makeup and seeing a different person looking back at me in the mirror.

And so began my “incredible shrinking woman” phase, which continued, uninterrupted, for two more years until I’d lost 10 dress sizes. I became literally unrecognizable, even to a high school friend at a reunion, who wouldn’t believe it was me standing two feet in front of him, even after a conversation. In addition, virtually every chronic, head-to-toe condition I’d accepted as my fate fell away during this phase, including the painful canker sores, bladder infections, bloating, black moods, sniffling, flaking, red eye and chin rashes and dry skin, dizziness upon standing, and blurry vision. Last but not least, the bingeing demon that had controlled me for more than a decade vanished, never to return, not even for a day in the twenty-five years since. Family and colleagues assumed it was willpower. It wasn’t. It was profound, permanent, mind-blowing biochemical peace.

Media Intolerance for Truth

During this metamorphosis I was working as a celebrity makeup artist with top magazines. The photo crews became extremely inquisitive about my weight loss, interrogating me for my peculiar food selections.  Cosmetic company spokesperson contracts and offers came in for me to “talk beauty” on camera (the superficial kind, of course) and flash my “before and afters” for spectacle. I was to be interviewed on the top morning show by one of America’s favorite anchors….as long as I didn’t get specific about diet. I was specifically warned not to talk about supplements. A major magazine ran a vanillafied version of my story with my photos and some Stuart Smalley-type stuff, but they “didn’t need” any dietary details, which they found mildly disturbing. An “extreme makeover” reality show wanted me to play the “lead motivator” role. The show would be about calorie counting (and low fat), shaming weigh-ins and plastic surgery. I passed, knowing that no reality show was interested in something that would make all the suffering, shame, and drama obsolete.

Discovery of the Hormone I’d Already Harnessed

At a function in 1994 I met scientist Jeffrey Friedman, who’d just discovered a hormone called leptin. When I heard about its effects in rodent studies, which had the pharmaceutical world salivating for a blockbuster weight loss drug, I did not make the connection between leptin and the countless way in which it had transformed me. Those vast capabilities of leptin—beyond its weight and satiety-regulating affects—were yet to be discovered.

As years passed I kept waking up to the same secret dream of physical freedom and healing, I read many health books no dietary information resonated. And with the new explosion of fat-free fanaticism, I felt an increasing sense of urgency to share my experience, as I knew that widespread biochemical (and thus, psychological) enslavement would come of  it (beyond “diabesity,” fat phobia spawned the psyche drug epidemic too). I watched my savior, fat, become demonized more than ever, and watched healthy people coerced to eat rice cakes and Snackwells, bringing on the same food obsession and weight struggle in the average person that I’d so narrowly escaped when it was still rare.

My Real Life Lab

Publishers were interested in a conventional “beauty book” from me. But I finally found one who would let me write The Truth About Beauty. Seven years of research included conducting “transformation cruises” for men and women where I quickly confirmed that what I’d done for myself could work for others. After years of calibrating and eliminating surprising foods that hindered success or threw off peoples’ glucometer readings—such as juices (even vegetable), coffee and even most coffee substitutes, nut flours and milks, most protein powders and even alcohol in flavorings and tinctures—I could predictably help others achieve the same set of sudden changes I’d had, consistently on the third or fourth day. I’d come to call that set of sudden changes, the “flip.”

Scientific Vindication: The Master Hormone Whose Time Has Come

I was describing this phenomenon to a group at a book signing in 2004 when the foremost expert on the hormone, leptin, Dr. Ron Rosedale—whose book signing coincidentally followed mine—heard me talking about shocking appetite and weight drop-offs, bizarre calmness… the end of portion control, “as long as carbs were radically cut, and you eat a lot of fat.” At that, his jaw dropped. I figured a heated debate would follow, but instead he said: “You’re resensitizing people to the hormone leptin. You’re one of the only ones.” He’d been doing it, too at his clinics all those years.

From that day, knowing about this “master hormone” secreted by every human’s white fat cells, gave me a new perspective on each area of health recovery I continued to witness, whether it was thyroid, mental clarity, weight, ADHD, fertility, energy, digestive, mood, skin, allergies, or other issues, the emerging science on leptin (as a quick Pubmed search on it will show you) explains it all. More than 8000 studies show leptin’s functions to date, confirming its hormone-regulating, tissue-healing, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Not surprising to me was it’s impact on eating disorders and all addictions, via its balancing effects on dopamine pathways and ability to grow the cerebral cortex (our self-control center). Or its ability to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, explaining why most people who resensitize to it describe a sudden clear-headedness and calmness. And its immune-modulating effects explained why my autoimmune thyroid and skin problems cleared up and why so many quickly lose their food sensitivities—even to dairy. Leptin even frees up testosterone, improving muscle to fat ratio independent of exercise as well as libido, in both men and women. For me, the mystery was over. And you wonder why no one hears of this hormone whose recovered function—achieved only by dietary avoidance of blood sugar and insulin spikes and plenty of fat— could make every blockbuster drug obsolete.