Tag Archives: eating

Why Emotions Trigger Food Cravings


The old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” implies there is a deep connection between emotions and eating. My guess is  no one is really surprised by this idea. Both men and woman can identify ways in which their mood and appetite are intertwined and it is no mere quirk of man’s personality that this is true.

Evolution tells us that we were born to eat. The earliest creatures in the world’s history were simple eating machines. Their bodies consisted of an entrance for food, a digestive tract and an exit for refuse. In order to become more efficient at getting food creatures developed a system to locate food and to move toward it. This system is known as a nervous system. The first creature to have this ability is the worm. Eventually the nervous system controlling the digestive system (enteric nervous system) began to sprout nodes which were early brains.  As time went on and the brain became better developed it split off from the nervous system that controlled the digestive tract. Everything that followed in evolution, has served the purpose of developing  increasingly efficient brains (central nervous system) for acquiring the fuel of life.

Another example of how deeply connected the gut and brain are, is to look at the development of the fetus. When a human fetus is still just a lump of jelly, the digestive  and nervous systems are one structure. Soon this organ splits into two, one to become our gastrointestinal tract and the other the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Even though they become physically separated the chemical signals used by the gut and nervous system remain virtually identical. These chemicals comprise the groups known as neurotransmitters and hormones.

The same chemicals in the digestive tract that cause the intestines to twist and convulse (peristalsis), in the brain stimulate the emotion of anxiety. This explains why people get “butterflies” in the stomach or diarrhea when they are nervous.  The brain chemicals involved in depression can cause constipation.  The syndrome of irritable bowel disease (IBS) with its cycles of diarrhea and constipation is thought to be a reflection of an emotional rollercoaster.  The chemical relationship between mood and appetite is even more complex but no less real. One of the most common side effect of mood altering drugs is increased appetite and weight gain. Just ask anyone who has been on an anti-depressant drug such as Prozac, Zoloft or Abilify.  The chemical in marihuana that gets people high is famous for triggering the eating binge called “the munchies”.

Appetite suppressant drugs often have effects on mood and can be the source of major side effects. One new generation of appetite suppressants being developed, Acomplia, failed to be approved by the FDA because it caused severe depression and suicidal thinking.

In the next part of this series we will look at ways we can influence the brain to control our appetite.

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Dr. Oz’s “Metabolic Makeover” Dishes Empty Calories


I want to help Dr. Oz not criticize him. Criticizing Dr. Oz is like criticizing Mother Theresa. He is uniformly worshiped by the media and his huge audience. He comes across as someone truly wanting to be helpful. So if I come across as being critical of him think of it as constructive criticism.

Yesterday, as I waited in the checkout line at Walmart, I saw a popular woman’s tabloid with a full page photo of Dr. Oz. The headline with the picture was “Dr. Oz’s Metabolic Makeover”. This intrigued me because I can use new information of this kind in my daily office encounters, so I bought the magazine. Imagine my surprise when, reading through the 2 page article, I didn’t find a single word from the great and powerful Oz. Instead a nameless author offered a summary of “Dr. Oz’s body-transforming secrets!”. What were Dr. Oz’s secrets? Take Vitamin D, fish oil, calcium, multivitamins, get enough sleep, and eat food with anti-oxidants low in carbs and sugar. In conclusion a dietitian put together a few simple recipes for meals based on a 1400 calorie per day diet. That’s it folks. That’s all she wrote!! Nothing even remotely new or body transforming. There was not a single original or inspirational thought to be found. Not even a single quote from the medical guru. I doubt whether he even read the article himself.

Dr. Oz was trained as a cardiac surgeon. It takes years of dedication and hard work to achieve that goal. In his mind must have been a desire to save people’s lives by literally taking them to the brink of death and bringing them back healthier than they were before. What this article says to me is that Dr. Oz has allowed himself to become the Kim Kardashian of medicine. A pretty but empty headed celebrity offering nothing of real value. His full page photo in this magazine is the portrait of an almost cynical drive to grab a few dollars from the pockets of adoring fans. What kind of deal do you have, Dr. Oz? Do you get a few pennies for each magazine sold? Do you really need the money, the fame, the glory that this kind of exploitation provides?

Nobody got hurt by this, you might say. That is true if you have time and money to waste. I know that many people would rather get up to date information they could use to get healthy and donate the money they wasted on this article to better causes.

We expect something more from you Dr. Oz. Shake off your advisers and entourage. Stand up for the person you originally sought to be.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

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The Joy of Being Vegetarian; by Louise Infante


A member of metabolism.com, Louise Infante, is a great enthusiast of the vegetarian life style. Louise submitted this blog to metabolism.com so we could help her get the word out. I found the article extremely informative and hope you do too. Thanks Louise for your effort.

Here is what Louise has to say:

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Give me five minutes and I’ll give you 1 very good reason for being vegetarian.

While fish is the most important dietary way to obtain the long-chain omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which has been shown to be essential in supporting brain health, low intake of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in vegetarians does not adversely affect mood, reported by a new study (Nutr J. 2010;9:26. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-9-26).

A research team from Arizona State University conducted a cross-sectional study to compare the mood of vegetarians who never eat fish with the mood of healthy omnivorous adults.

An overall total of 138 healthy Seventh Day Adventist adults residing in Arizona and California (64 vegetarians and 79 non-vegetarians) were enrolled in the study and completed a health history questionnaire, food frequency questionnaire and 2 psychometric tests, the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale and also the Profile of Mood States..

Vegetarians had significantly lower mean intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and the omega-6 arachidonic acid; they had higher intakes of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and the omega-6 linoleic acid.

“Seed oils are the richest sources of α-linolenic acid, notably those of rapeseed (canola), soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed (Linseed oil), clary sage seeds, perilla, chia, and hemp.”

However, the vegetarians also reported significantly less negative emotion than omnivores in both psychometric tests. Mean total psychometric scores were positively linked to the mean intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid , and inversely related to alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acid intake.

The study team noted there is also the possibility that vegetarians may make better dietary choices and could generally be healthier and happier.

If you want to give it a try, here is an example of vegetarian recipe based on Italian cuisine

Italian Spaghetti with Zucchini

Ingredients:
* 17 oz. Spaghetti
* 24 oz. Of thin sliced zucchini
* 1 / 2 cup walnuts oil
* A few basil leaves
* 2 tablespoons of yeast flakes
* Salt and pepper

In a skillet or frying pan heat the oil and when hot, add garlic and zucchini. Raise heat and stir often to complete their cooking. They need to be golden and crispy outside and tender inside. Cook the pasta, drain and sauté in pan with zucchini, basil and yeast. Serve immediately.

Zucchini contain fewer calories and possess no fat. But they are a good source of potassium, e vitamin, ascorbic acid, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin.

These types of nutrients are extremely sensitive to heat and to enjoy their benefits you should find a quick solution to cook or even eat raw in salads.

From the therapeutic perspective, zucchini have laxative, refreshing, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and detoxifying action.

About the Author – Louise Infante writes for vegetarian menu blog, her personal hobby blog centered on vegetarian cooking tips to help people live better.

http://www.vegetarianmenu.net/1_great_reason_to_become_vegetarian_224.doc

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What to expect from a Nutrition Consultation


What exactly is a Nutrition Consultation? That is Question Number One from the public! Well, a nutrition consultation is something that takes into account someone’s medical and weight history; blood work/laboratory values; activity; habits; Calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluid needs; nutrition support needs and personal goals. A good nutrition assessment will take all of this into account in order to get a full picture of a client and what their specific needs and recommendations are.

A very common issue is that people think they are eating way too much at night and want to cut down on their intake a night. Most of the time, these folks aren’t eating enough during the day and find themselves so hungry at night that they make up for missed meals and more! In this case, I teach that food is the best appetite suppressant around! If you eat good, solid, healthy meals and snacks, you won’t feel so hungry later on in the night.

Of course, sometimes people experience “emotional eating” where they are counting on food to meet an emotional need that they have. At first it may feel like the need is fulfilled. Food is comforting, nurturing, it can seem like a “companion”. HOWEVER, food is fuel, not emotional support. When we mistake food for emotional support, we stop looking for the real, underlying emotional issues that need our attention. That is when food becomes a distraction, a past time, even an addiction. I urge clients to look at food as food and not an emotional crutch or distraction.
On the other end of the spectrum are the folks who need to gain weight and can’t seem to gain no matter what they do. A nutrition consultation will provide an assessment of exactly how many Calories they need to maintain and to gain weight. It will provide guidance for consuming healthy foods and not empty Calories, as well as recommendations for maintaining lean body mass.

Some folks need nutrition support, especially if they are on medications that deplete nutrients. My professional opinion is that the majority of people in this country do not even meet the RDA’s for many nutrients and I believe that the RDA’s need to be updated to reflect current knowledge and research in the science of nutrition.

A Nutrition Consultation will also help dispel the numerous misleading concept about nutrition that are out there floating around on the internet and in the media. I teach people some very basic concepts so that when they look at the latest headlines or listen to what other people have to say about nutrition, they will be armed with knowledge that will help them to judge what it truly best for themselves. So that is a Nutrition Consultation in a NUTshell.
And as always,
Consider having an individualized consultation!
http://www.metabolism.com/beth-ellen-diluglio/

Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RD, CNSD, CCN, LD/N
In regards to this reply please read the our terms of service at:http://www.metabolism.com/legal_disclaimer/

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5 Steps to a Healthy Being by Beth Ellen DiLuglio M.S., R.D., C.N.S.D., C.C.N., LD/N,


5 steps, 5 simple steps can help us reduce dis-ease and induce ease.

1)  EAT WHAT GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND.  A pretty simple concept, yet the best way to have a healthy diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, good fats and good carbs.  Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease,  high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.  Ideally eat 9 or more servings per day for optimal health.  Add whole grains, legumes,  nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and you are on your way to a truly health promoting diet.  Of course it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides and toxins that can end up in our produce and we’ll cover that in a future post.

2)  HYDRATE.  Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is extremely important to our metabolism.  Our bodies are at least 60% water and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and impaired athletic performance.  Preferably our fluid intake will mostly come from purified water (I recommend Reverse Osmosis for several reasons we will cover in a future post).  You can use RO water to make tea, coffee, lemonade and fruit seltzers.  Most of us need at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight to start.  We need to take in additional fluid in case of hot weather, losses during exertion, fever and other specific conditions.

3)  BE ACTIVE.  We all know that a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease and even cancer!  Moderate activity that lasts at least 60 minutes should be done daily , or at least 5 days per week.  To improve our fitness level, aerobic activity can be added a minimum of 3 times per week along with some weight training to build and maintain lean body mass.

4)  RELAX.  Stress can be as detrimental as a poor diet.  The “fight or flight” response is great if you have to wrestle a foe or escape from one.  A chronic “fight or flight” response is not great as the hormones coursing through our bloodstream can actually wreak havoc on our systems over time.  A constant barrage of cortisol can even negatively affect parts of the brain.  Deep breathing can reverse the stress response and begin to restore balance and harmony.  Plan play time and get adequate sleep in order to keep that balance.

5)  SMILE!  Just the thought of a smile can make us feel really good.  Imagine what the real thing can do!

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Can Eating Carbs Reduce Food Cravings?


In a new book, The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs — Nature’s Own Appetite Suppressant — to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain, the authors Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and Nina T. Frusztajer, MD, propose that eating carbs before a meal can actually help weight loss efforts. The connection between carb consumption and appetite suppression is due to a change in brain chemistry that occurs when carbs are eaten before a meal. Their theory is supported by independent research conducted by the authors.

I am intrigued by this new concept because until now I have always considered carbs an appetite stimulant because of their action to raise insulin levels which can then cause blood sugar levels to drop a few hours later, resulting in relative hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which is a powerful trigger to more eating.

Thanks to the authors and their publisher we are able to provide an excerpt from the book The Serotonin Power Diet, and you can decide for yourself if this is an idea you would like to pursue.

Serotonin: What It is and Why It’s Important for Weight Loss
By Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and Nina T. Frusztajer, MD,
Authors of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs — Nature’s Own Appetite Suppressant — to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain

Serotonin is nature’s own appetite suppressant. This powerful brain chemical curbs cravings and shuts off appetite. It makes you feel satisfied even if your stomach is not full. The result is eating less and losing weight.

A natural mood regulator, serotonin makes you feel emotionally stable, less anxious, more tranquil and even more focused and energetic.

Serotonin can be made only after sweet or starchy carbohydrates are eaten.

More than 30 years ago, extensive studies at MIT carried out by Richard Wurtman, M.D., showed that tryptophan, the building block of serotonin, could get into the brain only after sweet or starchy carbohydrates were eaten. Although tryptophan is an amino acid and found in all protein, eating protein prevents tryptophan from passing through a barrier from the blood into the brain. The reason is simply numbers: Tryptophan competes for an entry point into the brain with some other amino acids. There are more of those other amino acids in the blood than tryptophan after protein is eaten. So in the competition to get into the brain, tryptophan is at a total disadvantage and very little gets in after a protein meal like turkey or snack like yogurt.

But carbohydrates tip the odds in tryptophan’s favor. All carbohydrates (except fruit) are digested to glucose in the intestinal tract. When glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin is released and pushes nutrients such as amino acids into the cells of the heart, liver and other organs. As it does this, tryptophan stays behind in the bloodstream. Now there is more tryptophan in the blood than the competing amino acids. As the blood passes by the barrier into the brain, tryptophan can get in. The tryptophan is immediately converted to serotonin, and the soothing and appetite controlling effects of this brain chemical are soon felt.

Our studies with volunteers found that when people consumed a pre-meal carbohydrate drink that made more serotonin, they became less hungry and were able to control their calorie intake. Volunteers whose drinks contained protein — so that serotonin was not made — did not experience any decrease in their appetite.

Most of us have experienced the carbohydrate-serotonin effect on our appetite even though we were not aware of the connection. Have you ever munched on rolls or bread while waiting for the main course to be served in a restaurant? By the time dinner is served, twenty minutes or so after you ate the roll, your appetite has been downsized. “I don’t even feel that hungry” is a common response when the plate is put down on the table.

This blunting of appetite is not because you may have eaten 120 calories of roll. It is caused by new serotonin putting a brake on your appetite.

Successful weight loss depends on the power of serotonin to control food intake.

The carbohydrate-serotonin connection has a direct impact on our emotional state, too. Drugs that increase serotonin activity have been used for several decades as a therapy for mood disorders. However, our studies showed that natural changes in serotonin could have a profound impact on daily fluctuations in mood, energy levels and attention. In one of our early studies, we found that our volunteers became slightly depressed, anxious, tired, and irritable around 3 to 5 pm every day. At the same time, they experienced, in the words of one volunteer “a jaw-aching need to eat something sweet or starchy.” Several studies later, we were able to state that late afternoon seems to be a universal carbohydrate-craving time, and people who experience this craving use carbohydrates to “self-medicate” themselves. Carbohydrate cravers who consume a sweet or starchy snack are increasing serotonin naturally.

We carried out careful clinical studies to measure the effect of carbohydrates on mood and to make sure that the effect was not just due to taste or the effect of taking a break from work. Volunteers, all carbohydrate cravers, were given a carbohydrate or protein- containing food or drink that had identical tastes. Their moods, concentration and energy were measured before and after they consumed the test beverages. The carbohydrate serotonin-producing beverage improved their moods but the protein-containing beverage had no effect on either their mood or their appetite.

Eating carbohydrates allows serotonin to restore your good mood and increase your emotional energy.

Eating low or fat-free, protein-free carbohydrates in the correct amounts and at specific times potentiates serotonin’s ability to increase satiety. You will eat less, feel more satisfied and lose weight.

Here are five tips to get serotonin working for you:

Eat the carbohydrate on an empty stomach to avoid interference from protein from a previous meal or snack. Wait about 3 hours after a meal containing protein.

The carbohydrate food such as graham crackers or pretzels should contain between 25-35 grams of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate can be sweet or starchy. High-fiber carbohydrates take a long time to digest and are not recommended for a rapid improvement in mood or decrease in pre-meal appetite. Eat them as part of the daily food plan instead for their nutritional value.

The protein content of the snack should not exceed 4 grams.

To avoid eating too many calories and slowing down digestion, avoid snacks containing more than 3 grams of fat.

Do not continue to eat after you have consumed the correct amount of food. It will take about 20-40 minutes for you to feel the effect. Eating more carbohydrates during the interval is unnecessary and may cause weight gain.

Stress may increase your need for serotonin and make it harder to control food intake. Prevent this by shifting protein intake to the early part of the day; i.e. protein for breakfast and lunch and switching to carbohydrates by late afternoon. Eating a carbohydrate dinner with very little protein increases serotonin sufficiently to prevent after dinner nibbling. And the soothing effect of the serotonin prevents stress from interfering with sleep.

Boost Serotonin to switch off your appetite and turn on a good mood.

©2009 Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and Nina T. Frusztajer, MD, authors of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs — Nature’s Own Appetite Suppressant — to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain

Author Bios
Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs — Nature’s Own Appetite Suppressant — to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain, has discovered the connection between carbohydrate craving, serotonin, and emotional well-being in her MIT clinical studies. She received her PhD from George Washington University, is the founder of a Harvard University hospital weight-loss facility and counsels private weight management clients. She has written five books, including The Serotonin Solution, and more than 40 peer-reviewed articles for professional publications. She lives in Miami Beach, Florida.

Nina T. Frusztajer, MD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs — Nature’s Own Appetite Suppressant — to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain, counsels private weight management clients and is a practicing physician and certified professional life coach. She received her master’s degree in Nutrition from Columbia University and her medical degree from George Washington University. She lives in Boston, MA.

For more information, please visit www.SerotoninPowerDiet.com and Amazon.com.

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Medicinal Salad


Salad to the rescue!

Salad to the rescue!

Ugh! I ate too much/ate the wrong things/have indigestion/feel gassy!!!!

A simple fix to the occasionally off tummy caused by a variety of mealtime experiences including a strange combination of foods from a sunny day picnic, a late night out with alcohol and cheap diner food or even just monthly gassiness or eating too much of something you know always gives you gas, try this simple medicinal salad at your next meal:

MEDICINAL SALAD
  • 4 cups of washed mixed greens or lettuce (this looks like a lot, but you’ll love it)
  • Enough raw apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to coat the clean dried leaves (about 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp olive or flaxseed oil
  • a tiny bit of salt and fresh pepper
  • top with cilantro/parsley and or cucumber if you have it
This is a recipe for one. Stay away from tomatos, carrots, olives or any other normal salad topping. Have this at your next meal following the unhappy meal that caused the upset.
How’s it work?
The greens and raw vinegar/lemon juice act as alkalizing brooms through your system, helping the body to process that funny meal with ease.
What’s it do?
It will relieve bloating, gas, slight reflux and sluggishness. Don’t be afraid to have this late at night after your meal in question to get a better night’s rest or as an appetizer for the next meal you’re hungry for.
Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of www.RedAppleYoga.com, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced  Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.

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Jennifer Wonders About Her Weight


Jennifer writes to metabolism.com trying to understand if her weight, life style or metabolism is abnormal. We encourage members to offer their opinions to help answer these questions.

Jennifer writes:

I am 21 years old and i weigh107lbs. i am 5′4”. am i too skinny? i am hypoglycemic, and my apitite comes and goes. when i get stressed out or depressed, i get nausous at the thought of food. people have been noticing my ’skinny frame’ a lot more lately and its making mew nervous…am i anerexic? i used to weigh between 109 and 112. 5lbs is a lot to lose for someone my size! i need to gain 10 lbs. i want to gain weigh. my body refuses to let me! please help me – any information will be great! thank you -Jennifer, IN

i am 21 years old and i weigh107lbs. i am 5’4”. am i too skinny? i am hypoglycemic, and my apitite comes and goes. when i get stressed out or depressed, i get nausous at the thought of food. people have been noticing my ‘skinny frame’ a lot more lately and its making mew nervous…am i anerexic? i used to weigh between 109 and 112. 5lbs is a lot to lose for someone my size! i need to gain 10 lbs. i want to gain weigh. my body refuses to let me! please help me – any information will be great! thank you -Jennifer, IN
swim_friends@yahoo.com
Jennifer

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