Eat too many carbs and gain weight?
Eliminate carbs and end up feeling down, even down right depressed?
Many diets eliminate carbs, but what if you NEED carbs to keep your mood up?
During her research at MIT, Dr. Judith J. Wurtman* discovered that people binge on sweets or starchy carbohydrates to relieve depression, anxiety, or anger. Carbs help your body get tryptophan to your brain so that your brain can make serotonin.
Serotonin is a tricky neuro-chemical that lifts your mood, helps you recover from stress and decreases your appetite. Your body makes serotonin, and to do that it needs tryptophan.
However, tryptophan has trouble crossing the blood-brain barrier, your brain’s security system for keeping out foreign substances.
Tryptophan can cross the blood-brain barrier, but carbs are needed to help get the tryptophan to your brain by pulling amino acids away from the brain to let the tryptophan in.
Your brain doesn’t make serotonin if you eat only protein, or protein and fat- – or even if you eat protein and carbs UNLESS you eat a small bit of protein and a big amount of carbs.
It’s tricky! Wurtman found to maximize carbs help make serotonin, you have to eat carbs, proteins & fat in a particular combination.
So what’s a “body” to do?
Eat a small amount of protein with a lot of carbs and little fat
Eat some protein, then later have a pure carb snack. (3-4 hours)
Wurtman found eating carbs, protein and fat with proper timing is what keeps our appetite down and our mood up.
*According to: The Serotonin Power Diet by Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and Nina Frusztajer Marquis, MD
The book gives more detailed instructions on how to’s, including meal plans & recipes.