If you are currently trying to lose weight, then you may have followed in the footsteps of many others and tried to search for tips online.
Although the internet can indeed be a great resource, there is often no way to know whether the information that you read is real or fake or just another fad.
It doesn’t help that there are so many companies out there simply trying to make money by claiming that they have “THE” weight loss solution that we have all been looking for.
With this being the case, if you have read anything about the serotonin diet then you may well be somewhat dubious, however there does seem to be some evidence that it could actually help you to lose weight.
What is the serotonin diet?
Research has shown that when our bodies are low on the hormone serotonin, signals are sent to the brain to tell us to eat sugary or starchy foods to try and make the levels increase again.
The Serotonin Diet works by trying to naturally boost the amount of serotonin in the body by eating certain foods that can increase it. The theory is that this should then stop us from craving the foods that make us gain weight. Not only is this the case but, as serotonin also works to improve mood, it should help to boost motivation to stick to a weight loss plan.
How does it work?
The diet works by encouraging participants to control the amount of protein and carbohydrates that they take into their bodies through the food they eat. The idea of this control is to keep it at a level that can maximise serotonin production.
Serotonin requires a number of precursors including tryptophan, B vitamins and 5-HTP in order to be used efficiently in the brain. Some of these are now available as supplements, which many people use to try and boost the amount of serotonin that they get. This is particularly popular with people suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
When we eat regularly, our serotonin levels should stay stable, but it has been found that they drop when individuals don’t eat for long periods of time, particularly in those who regularly skip meals.
How does this relate to body weight?
When our serotonin levels fall below a certain point, the signal is sent to the body telling it to eat foods rich in carbohydrates, which are then turned into glucose to provide the body with the energy that it is looking for.
If your low levels of serotonin are due to an unhealthy lifestyle, like is the case for many people, this effect could cause you to overeat, which will ultimately result in weight gain. Because of serotonin’s link with carbohydrate cravings, higher levels can work as an appetite suppressant, meaning that we are much less likely to overeat. It also means that your mood will stay more stable, giving you a better chance of grabbing hold of the motivation you need to stick to a diet plan and exercise regime.
What is included in the diet?
Because of the link with carbohydrate cravings, it is thought that eating a controlled amount of carbohydrate rich foods is likely to encourage the production of serotonin, meaning that levels are constant within the body. The insulin that is released when our blood sugar rises encourages the tryptophan from our diets to get into the blood stream and enter the brain, which can cause a relaxed feeling and reduced stress levels. If you eat the right foods to encourage serotonin production, you are likely to experience reduced food cravings, and therefore weight loss.
Should I try this diet?
There are many reasons that people might be overweight, but if you know that you suffer with regular cravings for carbohydrates, or you overeat due to underlying mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, then there is a good chance that the serotonin diet could work for you. Of course, increased serotonin will also boost mood, so even if you are not overweight and would simply like to improve your lifestyle, then it could be a good diet to try.
If you are considering your options for weight loss, then the scientific theories behind the serotonin diet may well appeal to you.
In a world where there are so many “diets” that are not scientifically supported in any way it is a breath of fresh air to find one that is – so it makes sense to try it if you are trying to lose weight at the moment.
Please also remember that all weight loss diets work on the basis that you create a calorie deficit. It doesn’t matter what diet you are on i.e. Atkins, 5:2, South Beach or any of the other dieting fads! If you don’t create a calorie deficit you will not lose weight.