I stumbled onto a great article recently called “6 New Ways To Boost Your Mood With Food”.
I usually skim over these articles quickly but one of the bullet points in the article caught my eye. It said “Carbs Are Crucial”. As a follower of low carb diets for many years, I managed to lose weight but I always felt like I was being punished due to the wicked amount of willpower necessary to stick to it. I felt lousy and was generally a cranky S.O.B.
The point being made in the article is that serotonin levels drop, particularly in the afternoon when you follow a low carb diet. Serotonin is the feel good brain chemical which can lead to the 4 o’clock mood slump some of us experience every afternoon, ” says Judith Wurtman, PhD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet and former director of MIT’s Clinical Research Center in Women’s Health. Her recommendation is to have a small serving of a complex carb like a sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, homemade granola, apple walnut muffin made with almond flour, etc. I agree. If you want even better results, eat this complex carb by itself for better digestion and more energy.
The article goes on to say that Tryptophan is responsible for helping us stay calm and serene. Tryptophan is an amino acid that our bodies need but can’t make on it’s own. In my book, “SuperFit SuperFast Nutrition” I talk about the importance of carbs and tryptophan and quote Dr John Raley, MD, who says that complex carbs are necessary for a steady flow of energy and transport amino acids like tryptophan into the brain.”
Personally, depending on my activity level, I aim for around 150-180 grams of carbs a day. Currently, I’m training for Austin Fittest Competition in late May so I’m working out, running, climbing rope, sprinting, weight lifting and doing other activities that will prepare me for the competition. My carbohydrate needs are higher than normal. If you’re an office worker and mainly sit all day, adjust your carb intake to meet your physical output.
Bottom line: For long term success, for a better mood, more energy and weight loss do not restrict carbs from your diet.
References: “Spark”; John J Raley, MD and Eric Hagema;pg 239
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
P.S. That picture of the muffins are p