Leptin Diet: How to Eat For Leptin Resistance

Leptin Diet: How to Eat For Leptin Resistance

High Leptin levels lead to weight loss resistance, a ravenous appetite, and constant weight gain (yes it can make weight loss almost impossible). 

That’s the bad news…

The good news is that you can influence leptin levels through your diet (and other ways that we will discuss later).

One of the big problems with Leptin Resistance is that most doctors aren’t even looking for it

That puts you at a big disadvantage because not only aren’t there very many treatments for leptin resistance but most cases are also missed.

​What I want to talk about today is what YOU can do about your leptin levels. 

Use this leptin diet guide to help lower your leptin levels:​

Is Leptin Resistance Destroying Your Metabolism?

Before we talk about the treatment of leptin resistance we really need to talk about the diagnosis. 

Because most patients aren’t even aware of the hormone leptin we need to talk about some basics. 

First leptin is a hormone that is secreted from your fat cells. 

the complex relationship between adipose tissue and the body's ability to burn fat is outlined.

It’s supposed to tell your brain when your body has enough extra calories in the form of fat cells and to signal to the brain to start burning that fat for energy. 

Basically, it’s a regulator of your metabolism in a way, by helping the brain figure out how many calories to burn. 

That’s the good part, and that’s the way it’s SUPPOSED to work. 

Now in most individuals, this process is completely opposite, and the pathology works similarly to insulin resistance. 

Instead of telling your brain that you have plenty of fat cells and to burn more calories, your brain misses the message and sends signals to your body to eat more food, slow down the metabolism, and pack on extra weight. 

So you gain more and more weight (in the form of fat cells) no matter what you do. 

​Not a pretty picture…

Symptoms of Leptin Resistance + How to Diagnose It

​As I mentioned previously one of the biggest issues with Leptin Resistance is that most Doctors aren’t looking for it. 

This is due to a variety of reasons (including the fact that there really aren’t any great pharmaceutical treatments) but there are several ways that you can address and lower your levels.

What does this mean for you?

You will most likely have to ASK for the serum leptin test and the burden of diagnosing the problem may rely on you.

But don’t worry, it turns out diagnosing it isn’t that hard (the treatment is the hard part).

So how do you diagnose leptin resistance?

The single best way is to test your fasting serum leptin level (example below).

an example of a patient with extremely high fasting leptin levels of 48 showing leptin resistance.

​You can see from the example above this patient’s serum leptin is 48.2 (while fasting). 

The range of normal leptin levels is < 10-12.

This particular patient presented with weight loss resistance, hypothyroidism, and multiple hormone imbalances. 

You can read about her particular treatment here (including how I lowered her leptin levels).

​Whenever you order serum leptin I also recommend that you order thyroid studies as well as both fasting insulin levels and the hgb A1c. 


Because I’ve yet to see a situation where a patient ONLY had leptin resistance and didn’t also present with these other problems as well.

The links provided above will help you to order the correct tests for diagnosing both of these conditions.

​By now you may already KNOW you have leptin resistance…

If you fall into this position you are probably wondering what you can do about it.

So let’s jump into that: ​

​Leptin Diet Guidelines + Other Treatments 

​You can consider high leptin levels as a constant signal to your body to constantly grow. 

That means EVERYTHING in your body is in a state of growth (the exact opposite of what you want to happen if you want to lose weight). 

And yes this includes both fat cells (1) and cancer cells (2) (yet another reason to treat leptin resistance).

That means your priority should be on lowering these leptin levels to reduce or eliminate that signal of growth.

Only then will your body enter into a state where it can actually burn energy, burn fat, and fix your metabolism.

how leptin levels impact the redistribution of fat based on age.

By the way, a similar signal is sent to your body when insulin levels are high. 

The only difference is that insulin resistance is a signal sent when glucose is plenty in your body and leptin is a signal sent when fat is plenty.

We can take it one step further and talk about high protein levels which are expressed by high levels of mTOR but we will discuss this later. 

The bottom line:

Leptin resistance and insulin resistance usually accompany one another. ​

​One of the most effective ways to help reduce leptin levels (and prevent this process as noted above) is to manage your leptin levels through diet. 

​There are some guidelines that exist currently but I’ve taken it one step further to help you understand more about WHY certain guidelines are necessary and how they impact one another. 

Also, realize that in very few of you changing your diet will actually be sufficient to completely lower your leptin levels.

In my experience, it usually takes a combination of diet + medications + treatment of insulin resistance + treatment of thyroid resistance to get meaningful results. 

​Before we talk about those other treatments let’s talk about leptin diet guidelines:

​1. Getting your Macros right

Think of the food you eat as information for your body.

Food sends signals to your body and impacts your hormone levels.

You want to send the right signals to your body to help lower your leptin levels and you can do that in a very specific way.

You need to remember that each macromolecule sends a signal to your body and you can influence these signals by eating more or less of a certain type of food.

For instance:

Carbohydrates increase insulin levels and send the signal of growth.

Protein increases mTOR which also sends the signal of growth.

But eating fat does NOT send a growth signal to the body.

We can use this to our advantage.

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Most patients are aware that lowering carbs is necessary to lower both insulin and leptin but they forget that protein has an input.

This leads them to consume a low-carb, high-protein diet which is counterproductive.

Instead, they should be focusing on a high-fat, low-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet.

This way you will NOT be sending the growth signal to your cells.

But what does that look like?

Basically, I recommend patients focus on a 60/20/20 ratio to start and then make changes from here as necessary.

That means 60% of your total calories should come from high-quality fat sources.

20% of your calories should come from high-quality (no refined sugar or pop tarts!) carbohydrate sources.

And 20% should come from high-quality organic sources of protein.

This will ​allow you to lower leptin, insulin, and mTOR levels. 

Generally, I recommend that your source of protein should be adequate to maintain muscle mass (which can be measured through impedance analysis).

You should also eat enough carbohydrates to both keep insulin levels low and maintain energy levels.

And the remainder should be made up of fat content. ​

Avoid the trap of eating TOO much protein which itself can increase both insulin and mTOR/leptin levels. ​

2. Avoid excessive calorie deprivation and consumption

As long as you follow the guidelines above you will notice several beneficial things happening.

First: as you consume higher-quality fats you will notice that your body naturally calorie restricts itself.

Second: your appetite will most likely decrease and you will notice the number of calories your body wants to consume. 

a flow chart indicating how leptin and thyroid hormone interact with one another.

It’s very important that during this process you don’t overeat or undereat.

​It sounds obvious but many people tend to mess this part up as well. 

It’s been smashed into your head that calorie restriction is necessary for weight loss, so the default will be to cut those calories for weight loss.

On the other hand, if you know enough about metabolism and how it gets damaged then you are probably scared to eat too few calories because you know the impact that has on your body and metabolism.

So what do you do?

The best thing you can do is listen to your body:

Eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full, and don’t pay attention to calories.

As long as your body isn’t going hungry then you are eating enough food.

The hunger sensation (especially if prolonged) will send a signal to your brain and hypothalamus to decrease metabolism. ​

3. Avoid processed foods, and refined carbohydrates and eat organic instead

None of these rules will help lower your leptin levels if you don’t consume the RIGHT kind of food.

If you ​follow all the rules above but eat pop tarts and bread for your 20% of carbohydrates then you will be doing more harm than good. 

Remember that not all calories are created equal which means that 20 grams of carbs from pop-tarts are not equal to 20 grams of carbohydrates from blueberries. 

So make sure that you are consuming high-quality foods that are organic, grass-fed, and free-range.

This will help send the proper signals to the body. ​

It’s especially important if you have leptin resistance to avoid foods high in fructose.

That means NO processed foods, NO added sugar, and NO sources of grains.

Get your carbs from fruits and vegetables (even the occasional starchy food is fine).

I just shake my head when I see people avoid bananas because they have “too much sugar” and instead eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. ​

Don’t fall into that trap. ​

4. Eat larger meals, less frequently

Another huge mistake I see people make all the time is eating lots of small meals in hopes that it will “increase” their metabolism. 

Instead what you are doing is increasing the time your body spends processing calories and increasing the time your cells spend processing insulin levels.

Remember that insulin is a growth hormone and not the hormone you want floating around in your blood if you are hoping to lose weight.

See the charts below:

a graph showing the more frequently you eat the more often insulin levels will stay raised.

As you can see with frequent meals your body will spend more time processing the food which means higher insulin levels which means insulin resistance. 

Compare this to larger, less frequent meals: ​

a graph highlighting the difference in insulin levels with intermitting eating compared to more frequent meals.

Your body will spend more time without insulin in the bloodstream and will, therefore, sensitize your cells to insulin.

​So consider practicing the art of intermittent fasting. 

That means still consuming the same amount of calories but just in larger, less frequent meals. ​


Your body weight is determined by the hormones circulating in your blood and you can influence those hormones by not only WHAT you put in your mouth but WHEN and how often you do it. ​

Treating Leptin Resistance with More Than Just Diet

​While diet is very important for managing leptin levels it’s certainly not the only treatment that will be required to lower your leptin levels. 

In fact, I have yet to see a patient significantly lower their leptin levels without the addition of other therapies.


Because the same process that causes leptin resistance also tends to cause both thyroid and insulin problems.

That means in order to get your leptin under control you really need to make sure you are also focusing on these other hormone imbalances.

​In addition to changing ones diet, I have also found success using the following medications and regimens to help lower leptin levels:

#1. T3 Thyroid Hormone

In anyone with leptin resistance, I am a big fan of using T3-only medications or at the very least NDT preparations that include T3. 

T3 helps sensitize the body to insulin (3), helps boost the metabolism, and cuts your body out of the T4 to T3 conversion process.

​What do I mean by that?

Well, we already know that high leptin levels increase conversion from T4 to reverse T3 (you probably know this is a bad thing, if not please read this article).

​The more reverse T3 you have in your system the slower your metabolism will be and the harder it will be to lose weight. 

​T4 either turns into reverse T3 (which we don’t want) or free T3 (which we do want). 

The substrate for conversion is T4.

Now, what you may not know is that NDT is still mostly T4 hormone. 

That means ​if you are taking NDT you can still produce high levels of Reverse T3 in the presence of leptin resistance. 

The best way to get around this process is to provide the body with T3 only.

By providing it with T3 only there is no option for Reverse T3 production and therefore reverse T3 levels will fall as leptin levels fall.

​In my experience patients with leptin resistance tend to recover more quickly on T3-only medication vs. NDT. 

#2. GLP-1 agonist

​Certain medications are very potent at reducing serum leptin levels and helping patients with weight loss resistance lose weight. 

The GLP-1 agonists tend to do this quite well:

a study which shows that short term exanatide treatment leads to significant weight loss in obese women.

Studies have shown (4) that certain non-diabetic patients respond with a significant amount of weight loss when using GLP-1 agonists. 

​What’s interesting is that certain patients respond very well to these medications, but not all patients do. 

One of the factors that determine if you are going to respond with weight loss to this class of medication appears to be serum leptin levels.

Patients with very high leptin levels tend to respond better and with more weight loss than patients with normal leptin levels trying to lose weight.

This explains why certain patients respond VERY well and others have no benefit from this class of medication.

This medication isn’t for every patient with weight loss resistance but it can be VERY effective for a certain subgroup of patients who have both weight loss resistance and leptin resistance. 

Newer studies have also shed light on conditions that tend to accompany leptin resistance such as hypothalamic obesity disorder.

Various medications used to treat this condition can also be helpful in treating leptin resistance.

You can learn more about this condition in this post. ​

#3. Intermittent fasting routine

​Intermittent fasting tends to be ignored as a form of treatment but really it is a form of dietary intervention for leptin resistance. 

The art of NOT eating is just as important as learning both WHEN to eat and HOW MUCH to eat.

The crazy thing is most people focus only on WHAT they are eating, they very rarely focus on the other aspects of diet.

In this case, intermittent fasting can be a very effective way to reduce insulin levels and help reverse leptin resistance and lead to weight loss.

Take for instance this graph:

a graph which shows that low carb diets by themselves are not sufficient to lower insulin to levels which allow for fat burning.

You can see in the data above that low-carb diets (5) are not sufficient to adequately lower glucose levels by themselves. 

It’s only with the addition of intermittent fasting that glucose levels drop to the point that hormone-sensitive lipase (6) can be activated leading to significant weight loss.

​So remember that just cutting your carbs generally won’t be enough to treat your leptin resistance, especially if you consume a high-protein diet. 

#4. Targeted Supplements

Lastly, there are several new (and emerging) supplements that can actually help leptin resistance. 

As you know, treating leptin resistance can be very difficult and requires therapies that aren’t well documented.

Because it can be difficult to get your doctor to prescribe these medications, supplements should be a very important part of treatment. 

The following supplements have been shown to help reduce leptin levels (and should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan):

  • Fish oil: In order to get this benefit you must use doses as high as 4 grams per day (that’s a lot of fish oil!). You should also use this supplement for at least 6 months. You can learn more about using fish oil for weight loss here
  • Alpha lipoic acid: Doses up to 2,400mg per day x3-4 months and can be effective at lowering both insulin and leptin levels. You can learn how to use alpha lipoic acid for weight loss here
  • L-Glutamine: This supplement acts on the GLP-1 receptor and can mimic the activity of the GLP-1 agonist medications listed above. To get this benefit you will need to use 2-5 grams per day. 
  • Myoinositol: The most common isoform of inositol can help reduce both insulin and leptin and actually help with weight loss. Use 1,500mg per day (2 capsules). 

To experience the most benefit you will need to take at least 2 of the following supplements at the dosages listed above

Wrapping it up​

Leptin resistance can be treated with diet and there are some special interventions that should be taken if you have Leptin Resistance.

It’s also important to remember that generally, diet alone will be insufficient in significantly lowering your leptin levels leading to significant weight loss.

That’s why I recommend a comprehensive approach that includes not only dietary recommendations and interventions but also hormone management and medication management.

It’s also important to remember that when it comes to leptin resistance you need to focus on WHAT you eat, HOW MUCH you eat and you need to know when NOT to eat. 

Practicing these tips will go a long way to helping you with weight loss and feeling better.

Also, it’s very difficult to treat leptin resistance on your own – if you have very high levels I recommend seeking out care with a knowledgeable practitioner to help guide you through the process.

Otherwise, you may end up frustrated and defeated.

Now it’s your turn:

Do you have leptin resistance?

Has diet helped lower your leptin levels?

What else have you tried?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

Scientific References

#1. https://pudmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23378454

#2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15798994/

#3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22556948/

#4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336708/

what to eat if you have leptin resistance

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About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 7 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

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#1. Get my free thyroid downloads, resources, and PDFs here.

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41 thoughts on “Leptin Diet: How to Eat For Leptin Resistance”

  1. Sir,
    I am 41 yrs old female , have undergone total thyroidectomy due to papillary thyroid cancer. I was undergoing treatment for infertility for last 10yrs .After taking some hormone tabs and injections I put on lot of weight and it had happened all of sudden. Then drs they checked my tsh level and diagnosed as hypothyroidism. It was on 2006. And in 2012 they diagnosed as papillary, following that surgery done. Then onwards day by day I am putting on weight,suffering insomnia, a lot of hair fall, nail breakage,fully grey hair,hyperpigmentation all over the body and huge on specially hands& legs.Now my periods are regular but quite scanty. A lot of swelling all over the body.That means today’s dress is not fit for tomorrow. I have approached my endocrinology dr. But he never listens or notice my symptoms & change my medications accordingly. Now tell me Dr. what should I do? I am 87kg with ht 153cm now and can’t move freely. Can u help me? PLEASE REPLY…

  2. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 1 1/2 years ago. Current antibodies have dropped significantly, but are still at 468. RT3 is at 16, with a ratio of 1.8. I had an awful reaction to Synthroid, and I had an awful reaction to NDT NP Thyroid. I am now on 5 mcg, and I have gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks! I am getting ready to stop and just give up. I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I am wasting days, months, and years of my life experimenting with different medications. My doctor has suggested I start DHEA ?? I am afraid to start it .. with my track record I’ll grow a beard by Thanksgiving! My cortisol is also through the roof .. it was elevated with each of my four saliva samples. I have tried diet eliminations, eating clean, trying to work out … but I’m so tired. Nothing works!! The weight doesn’t budge and my hair just keeps coming out. I am always tired and the brain fog is so frustrating. Any suggestions would be appreciated, because I feel like nothing will ever work. 🙁

  3. When testing leptin, is it necessary to fast? I had mine tested late afternoon, and it was 29. I’m on 1-1/2 grains WP Thyroid and just started 5mcg cytomel for high RT3.

    • Yes fasting vs non fasting does change your leptin level, there is something to be said about an abnormally “high” response post prandially which is similar to what happens with insulin in pre diabetics.

  4. Hi Dr. Westin, I was dx with Hashi’s x2 years ago. I started on Armour per my insistence and then about 6 months ago my Functional Med doctor placed me on synthroid. Current dose is 75mcg/day. Last month I started on LDN 1.5mg/day and this month upped it to 3.0mg/day. I haven’t noticed any difference in any symptoms positive or negative. My doc tells me that it may take up to 6 mos to notice a difference. I started on LDN hoping to put Hashi’s into remission, have more energy, sleep better and lose weight. After reading your website I decided to add Inositol pwd from Pure Encapsulations. I started that today. You advertise a program to guarantee weight loss and feel better. Please advise. Thank you, Melynda Ruckels

    • Hi Melynda,

      I don’t ever guarantee results when it comes to health, thyroid or Hashimoto’s. The reason being that there are so many variables and considerations that go into treating thyroid disease that it is impossible to guarantee anything. I do, however, provide a refund policy in case the program doesn’t work for some people to mitigate the risk involved in trying it out. I hope that clarifies things, you can find out more about the weight loss program here: https://www.restartmed.com/hormone-mastery/

  5. I believe I am experiencing Leptin resistance and metabolic damage. I’ve been following the primal blueprint diet, intermittent fasting and etc for almost two years, but a few months ago when I was cycling very anaerobically on a hilly commute I burnt out very often and made efforts to eat more carbs such as fruit and sweet potato. I have never been over weight, but I gained a stone and was very unhappy. I continued my commute (10 miles 4 times a week) this time eating one meal of around 800 calories a day, permanent ketosis but hitting daily protein goal. I lost that extra stone in a few weeks and started eating a little more, but I dont eat very much or often generally. When I do eat, it is so compulsive I feel disgusted with myself and often purge afterwards. I have gotten myself into a very unhealthy place, my relationship with food has become terrible and I am holding on to fat that I want to lose but it is impossible because my body is afraid of starvation. It is always hungry but because of my self image I cant feed myself successfully very often. Too often I overeat compulsively and lose control

    • Hi Chloe,

      Yes, it does sound like you are probably dealing with some degree of metabolic damage which is usually accompanied by leptin resistance. You will need to find a way to balance your caloric intake so that you don’t chronically suppress calories which may worsen the cycle.

  6. I keep reading what kinds of foods NOT to eat but can I just get a list of things I can eat? I’m assuming it’s something like 25% healthy fats 25% protien and 75% veggies. Is this correct?

  7. I have no thyroid due to cancer. I am currently on Nature-throid. Is there anything special I need to know since my body does not make thyroid hormones? Can you suggest how to find a Dr like yourself? I have trouble getting Drs to do the right labs and prescribe a med other than t4 only! I am near Dallas

  8. Dr. Childs- I have recently discovered I have high rt3 (19),high leptin (24) and a somewhat high insulin (8) according to your blog. Can you tell me how long it takes on average to reverse the leptin resistance when following the diet, T3 meds and supplements you recommend? How long on average when doing all those things but also adding the GLP-1 agonist? Thank you for all of the great info on your site!

    • Hi Kim,

      Probably somewhere on the order of 6-18 months depending on the degree of resistance. Perhaps longer in some cases.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I tailor the fasting regimen to the individual because too much is detrimental and may cause metabolic damage and the length that you fast depends on many different factors.

  9. Hi, Dr. Child’s,

    This past year when I learned about leptin resistance I had my doctor test my fasting level and it was 49. My doctor forgot to add the Reverse T3 to the lab slip so I didn’t get that -but my ft4 and tsh were on the low end of the normal range and my ft3 was on the high end of normal. So I asked my doctor to prescribe Lio 5mcg in addition to my NDT Armour 60 mg to help with the leptin resistance. I didn’t really notice any extreme differences to how I felt, but I did gain nearly 30lbs in about 8 mo. My diet isn’t wonderful, but also not horrible, and it hasn’t changed since starting the T3. After taking the T3 for 6 mo I was retested. My ft4 and tsh were still on the low end of normal and my ft3 was a 6.1 and reverse T3 11.6 and fasting leptin 76! So I’m just confused as to why the weight gain happened. Any insight will be helpful!

    For a little history, I have been on NDT – Armour 60mg for years and was never more that about 10-15lbs overweight when I was diagnosed with hypo. A couple Years later during my pregnancy, I was 7 months along and an endo doctor took me off NDT due to his personal dislike of the doctor who diagnosed me 🙁 . So I was off of it for 6 weeks, my TSH went from a 1.3 to a 7 in that short time and I had gone from a healthy weight gain for pregnancy to not! While my Thyroid levels were trying to go back to normal in my last 2 months of pregnancy I had gained 40lbs, for a total of 65lbs. Since that time I have struggled with my weight, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, and now leptin resistance. The only endo in town is the one who took me off my med during pregnancy so I don’t want to go see him again and my current doctor doesn’t know much about treating thyroid. Thank you for your time, and I apologize for such a long comment.


  10. Dr. Child’s,

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 10 years ago. I struggled with T4 meds for 5 of those years….gaining approx 30 lbs, asthma, fatigue etc. I then found a functional med doc who moved me to armor ( now at 120 mcg per day) and 5 mcg levothyroxine. I had some level of improvement on armor…however my RT3 has been +25 and rising. My fasting insulin is 9.1, cortisol slightly lower than normal and hba1c 5.9. I have also continued to put on weight…now about 50lbs over my pre-hoshimoto’s weight. Nothing seems to work for losing weight.
    I am vegetarian, hence getting to appropriate calorie levels on a low carb, low protein ( vegetable protein) is very challenging. Any guidance that you can offer. What are some of the discussions I should have with my doc?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Bhuvana,

      I treat based on a comprehensive history, labs and clinical experience so it’s difficult for me to say what you would need to ask for with such limited information. Sorry about that!

      • Thank you Dr. Childs!
        Do you happen to take long distance patients? I live in Atlanta. I will be happy to share my full and historical labs and get some comprehensive advise… to address my Hashimoto, persistently high RT3 and my weight loss resistance.

  11. I’m really interested in trying to reverse leptin resistance. I have over 100 pounds to lose and am stuck what I call my “bounceback weight”. No matter if I lose or gain weight, within a short time period, I end up back at that weight. About a year ago, I lost 45 pounds, but went through a stressful time, and as of this week, I have regained it all. No matter what I tried, I could not stick to it.

    My fasting insulin is 30 and fasting leptin is 119 (yes, 119, not a typo). My doctor will not prescribe thyroid, but has prescribed Saxenda, so I’m excited to try that.

    Also, you say that macro ratios should be 20/20/60, but what should calorie level be? How do i find something that isn’t too high or too low? If it’s 1500,for example, that would be 75 g carb and 75 g protein, which seem a little high. Should i decrease calories or change ratios to 10/10/90, for example.

    Finally, do you know how extended fasting affects leptin? I’ve been successful at completing 3-7 day fasts, which I know are good for insulin, but I’m not sure about cortisol and leptin.

    I purchased your program and it hadbeen really helpful (especially the videos), so thank you for getting this information out there!

  12. Dr. Childs,
    I’m a bit confused because I understood that high Leptin should cause someone not to feel hungry, so given we have Leptin resistance, don’t we want to fix the resistance but keep Leptin high? I have some type of metabolic issue because I’ve eaten the recommended diet and fast for 16 hours per day by skipping breakfast, but ever since I stopped exercising regularly I’ve been gaining weight (30lbs over 2 years) and I’m having problems losing it. About 5 days ago I started a Leptin diet where I eat a high protein/fat breakfast, then I eat a salad with meat around 2-3pm, and I usually don’t need to eat anything else that day, and I appear to be losing weight already (4 lbs in 5 days). So I guess if you’re going to skip breakfast then you also need to exercise regularly?, because 3-4 years ago I did that (skipped bkfst but exercised) and was around 30lbs less than now. But it now appears that if I have a big protein breakfast and a small/no dinner and no snacking, that also corrects my hormones, even if not exercising? I’ve never had my fasting insulin or leptin measured, but my fasting glucose is usually borderline (100) but my A1C is low (4.6%), probably due to IF/low carb messing with my glucose metabolism? Maybe I was over-sensitive to Leptin due to IF and the caloric restriction of IF drove my leptin down making me hungry? I was snacking alot, and I could eat 1000 calories of nuts pretty quickly.

    • Hi Todd,

      Yes, that is exactly what you want to do. Reverse the resistance while keeping the leptin level high. Usually, you need to drop the leptin slightly to re-sensitize the cells, however.

  13. Thank you Dr. Childs you have put all the pieces of the puzzle together for me.

    I started a weight loss journey unintentionally in September 2015 with the intent of completing 10 mile hikes with the boy scouts when I was crashing at the 8 mile mark. At the time I was approximately 5′ 8″ and 280 pounds with no diagnosed medical conditions. The journey was started with just adding walking and increased from there. In February 2016 my PSVT (had symptoms of this condition since high school) started getting worse and I had to visit the ER to break the episode and was officially diagnosed with this condition and at the same time it was found my TSH was 20.47 so I was started on Levothyroxine (current dose of 75MCG). Subsequent testing showed I have Hashimoto’s and a Thyroid nodule. At this point I did not have any noticeable symptoms of being hypothyroid other than tiredness.

    I was losing weight up until about March 2017 with just the walking, at that point I was doing about 8.5 miles a day. Then I plateaued until October 2017. At that point I started calorie restriction, increased my walking (14 miles a day, everyday) and ended up losing a total of about 120 pounds to weigh in at 162 in May 2018. I stayed near that weight for about a month then vacation happened in July 2018. During vacation I ate badly and started to gain. I attributed the gain to the bad eating and tried to get back into my routine that got me to my target weight before vacation. But this has been a challenge because I keep getting uncontrollable cravings and bouts of hunger. My weight is now up to about 185.

    Now that you have the history here are the pieces. In April/May 2018 I was noticing a reduction in my metabolism and that the normal calorie guidelines for a person of my height/weight/age were not falling true. I chalked that up to the hypothyroidism and just said I need to work harder (more miles/less calories) because of this condition. Then after vacation I started having the crazy hunger cravings, tiredness increased, and started losing hair during showers like crazy. I found out about the hormone leptin, I thought I could beat leptin with will power alone, but not so much. In September, I was finally able to get blood testing orders from my doctor in the hopes it would show my Thyroid levels out of whack but everything was within range and my family doctor and an endocrinologist was unwilling to change anything because of the perceived normal levels. The only thing they could offer was get more sleep.

    Now I have found your information which has put the pieces together and explains a lot. I have an appointment with a new doctor in the new year, hopefully he will be willing to run some more of the recommended blood tests to confirm what I suspect and will be willing to work with me to at least get my weight stable. I have some changes to make to my diet to help with the insulin resistance and hopefully getting on some T3 only meds will help (FT3/RT3 ratio = 0.153).

    Thanks again and you can now add another to your one million goal.

  14. Dr. Childs,

    I really appreciate all the free content you’ve provided. It has really help me point my Doctor in the right direction.

    My fasting serum leptin is at 34.9, but my doctor feels that is within the normal range. I have a feeling that these high levels of leptin are the reason why I can’t seem to lose more than 4 lbs. before regaining it no matter how much I exercise or how much I change my diet.

    My question is do you know of any studies that I can show my doctor that prove that leptin levels should be < 10-12? I'd like to get on Saxenda to help with my high levels of leptin, but I think my doctor needs a little more convincing.

    Thanks again for helping me better communicate with my Doctor,

    Suzette Murphy

    • Hi Suzette,

      Unfortunately, it’s slightly more complicated than that. You don’t really want your leptin to be low if you are trying to lose weight. I’ll have to do a blog post on it at some point in the future!

  15. I think my husband has damaged his metabolism from basically skipping breakfast and lunch since starting a new job 3 years ago. And long hours mean a late dinner also. In the past, he easily dropped weight by cutting junk. Since starting the job, he’s almost 40 pounds heavier, has been working out for a year, and hasn’t lost a pound after cleaning up the diet and exercising (HIIT and weights 2x per week). Reverse T3 is high, other Thyroid labs optimal. Insulin was high but has come down with TRT and diet. He’s already fasting, so can’t change that- what would be the next approach for trying to lose? Eat more??

  16. Dr. Childs,

    My Insulin is 16.1 and Leptin is 205.8 both resistant, I am on Synthroid 100mcg + Cytomel 10 mg daily. I cannot lose weight and cannot get my Endo to prescribe GLP-1 Agonist or LDN to help me lose because I don’t have diabetes.

  17. Recent fasting labs showed good insulin levels (Your Value 8.2 uU/mL – Standard Range 3.0 – 28.0 uU/mL) but leptin was 25 and RT3 was 21. My FM NP wants me on a diet, her parameters are 50gr protein, no carbs at breakfast, use pea protein to help achieve that number, then have 25gr carbohydrates at lunch and dinner, avoid snacking, no refined sugars. (I did elimination phase AIP a few years ago, easily lost 60 lbs, but gained about half back after a year or two of reintroductions). I’m still gluten, soy, conventional dairy free (will eat grass fed cow cheese and butter, goat and sheep cheese). Your leptin diet is quite a bit different. I am currently on 75mg levothyroxine and 37.5 liothyronine (split dose, 25 am, 12.5 night) and she didn’t want to change liothyronine dose. Ft3-2.8, Ft4- 0.9.
    I think I could use some help

  18. What should we do if we have a lot of fat to lose but low leptin levels resulting in a slow metabolism? More protein? Less?

  19. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 28 years ago. I was dismissed and told it was all in my head for five years before being diagnosed. I had an FNA done as blood tests were inconclusive, but that confirmed. After about seven years on levothyroxine only I was prescribed cytomel – and I loved it. I told my doctor I felt like my eyes were finally open – however, I was taken off of the cytomel because of possible side effects re: heart. Note: I don’t have any heart disease but because of a chance of problems with Cytomel I was taken off it. After reading some of your articles I recently asked my (new) doctor if I could go back on but he said no. I will keep asking. Also – there are no endocrinologists in my area anymore – so I don’t have the option of working with one. I have been Insulin resistant for over thirty years and I’m a poster child for leptin resistance so will make the changes I’m able. Anything is better than nothing.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I will go through and update some of this information at a later date but, yes, 100 grams per day is ok for purposes of weight loss and muscle building.


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