I have been scanning through numerous diet books lately.  The conflicting information is amazing.  There are recommendations for no protein, all meat, no legumes, no grains, no fruit...the list goes on.  The real problem is that we are all from different cultures and backgrounds, and what might work for one person, is not necessarily ideal for someone else.  I was reading the book Younger (Thinner) You Diet by Eric Braverman, MD.  He spent time talking about neurotransmitters and their affect on our ability to lose and maintain weight.  The first neurotransmitter he discusses is dopamine.  He ties rapid or significant weight gain to a dopamine deficiency.  Dopamine is important because it effects or physical and mental energy.  This also has an affect on on metabolism - slowing it down, also.  If you are someone who always gains weight, even when you haven't changed your eating habits, it may be due to a dopamine deficiency.  According to Dr. Braverman, "Without the right amount of dopamine, the circuits in our brains do not relay the message that we feel satisfied and full.  Instead of walking away from the table, we'll just keep eating and eating and eating:  We are never emotionally or physically fulfilled by food, no matter how much we've eaten."  The following is a list of indicators from the author which point to low dopamine in the system:
  • Do you recognize when you are full? 
  • Do you feel happy after eating?
  • Can a small snack like a piece of fresh fruit tide you over until the next meal?
  • When following other diets, have you found that you were always hungry, even after you finished a meal? 
  • Do you drink copious amounts of liquid with your meal?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you may want to consider changing your diet to lift your dopamine levels. Recommendations to lift dopamine levels in the body include eliminating sugary foods and processed "simple" carbs from the diet.  It may be beneficial to get your vitamins, minerals and amino acids checked to see if your system is out of balance.  Next week - I will talk about acetylcholine - have a great day - Shanna