When I first started dieting hard myself and working with clients who were dieting for photoshoots or fitness contests or those who were just determined to get very lean, I kept running into the same problem.
After a few weeks the clients would always complain about little daily things that never seemed to bother them before. Then they almost always brought up their lack of food as the reason why. At first, I looked at them as being “mentally weak” and to my credit, some were and still are, their are those that will always make excuses, such is life.
As I read more and more research I started understanding the connection between food and mood and how food effects your mood.
Food is responsible for the production of mood enhancing chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
Your blood sugar levels impact your alertness and energy. When you diet your blood sugar is low.
Lastly, and why America is so obese, food is related to fun and pleasure.
Food can GREATLY impact your energy and your levels of altertness. Protein raises your dopamine levels which make you more alert and aware. At the same time, eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates raises your serotonin which can cause you to feel tired.
Both are true for blood sugar as well. Carbohydrates spike your blood sugar which gives you energy but then makes you tired. Protein stabilizes your blood sugar which causes you to relax.
Can you see how food has such a big impact on your mood?
It’s not just the food that you eat that can impact your mood either, it’s the lack of nutrients that might even play a bigger role.
Amino acids that are found in protein sources like chicken, beef, rice, peas, beans and whey can all have an impact on your mood. Theanine, for example, is an amino acid found in green tea that can cause your body to relax. Glycine, another amino acid, can be taken post workout to relax and blunt the effects of cortisol.
But what about the lack of nutrients found in processed foods? Won’t they certainly effect your mood as well? Of course, not only will you feel sluggish from eating all the hidden calories that they contain but you’ll also be missing various micronutrient that all form the foundation of your brain neurotransmitters.
Is that why we overeat?
Hardly, and I might have to go on a rant here. There is a research study that suggest that overeaters get more pleasure from foods then normal eaters do. That same study also proposes that normal eaters get a smaller response then overeaters do from food, they weren’t sure which response was more powerful.
So overeaters actually feel better from eating more and they do so because it stimulate feelings of happiness. Let’s face it, life isn’t all sunshine and roses. People are miserable day after day in their lives. Why else would people have obsessions about anything from liquor to the opposite sex to video games to over eating?
What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear “Cracker Jacks”?
Most will say a baseball game.
What about “hot dogs”?
a 4th of July party right?
You see how intertwined our society is with food and pleasure? Even as I write this on a Sunday afternoon, I want to sit down with wings and pizza and watch football.
You have to then substitute the fatty, sugary foods with healthy foods so that you don’t know what their missing, that’s the hard part.
Coming tomorrow: Part 2 of How Food Effects Your Mood-The action guide for manipulating your mood without the let down and list of foods that enhance your mood.
Give me 20 comments talking about what you’ve noticed with food and how it effects your mood and I’ll be back with part 2 tomorrow.
Tags: Alertness, Amino Acid, Amino Acids, Blood Sugar Levels, Carbohydrates, Chemicals In The Brain, Cortisol, Diet System, Dopamine Levels, Fitness Contests, food and brain health, Food And Mood, food and performance, Green Tea, Mood Food, Nutrients, Photoshoots, Processed Foods, Protein Sources, Serotonin, Theanine, Working With Clients, Workout