The Serotonin Power Diet

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Why has everyone told me to stop eating carbohydrates so that I can be thin?

People who gave you that advice didn't understand that you can eat to make yourself feel better -- and that there's nothing wrong with this approach. Nature has given us an effective way of improving our mood. When this was discovered at MIT, people understood that they could use carbohydrates -- in the right amounts and at the right times -- to make themselves feel good and lose weight. When carbohydrates were removed from the diet, the drop in serotonin made people lose their good mood and their ability to control their appetite. That is a high price to pay for losing a few pounds.

Q. You say that I won't overeat snacks on this diet -- but I have been known to binge on bran cereal. I do not trust myself to eat any snack, no matter bow bland or uninteresting. How can I control myself?

Once you allow yourself to eat the correct amount of carbohydrate and then wait until the serotonin is made, you will feel more confident that the snacks will control your appetite. However, if you do not trust yourself to start this process using real foods, you can try the energy gels described on page 70 for a week. Because they are designed to be digested faster than food, you will feel the effect sooner. In our experience, no one ever binges on them.

Q. I read about something called the glycemic index, or GI. Don't I have to stay away from foods that have a high GI?

The glycemic index measures how quickly glucose levels rise in the blood after eating. A number of our clients voiced concerns about these blood sugar spikes.

However, unless someone is diabetic, the carbohydrate amounts in our snacks will not cause significant blood sugar swings. Insulin in the absence of diabetes is extremely effective at maintaining blood glucose levels within the normal range.

Q. I started the Serotonin Power Diet in the middle of the summer and really did not crave carbohydrates. But now I am at the end of the diet and it is mid-fall and my cravings are awful. What should I do?

You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. As the days of fall and winter become darker, people feel their moods and appetite changing. Switch back to the Serotonin Balance phase until spring. This will allow you to control your cravings without risking weight gain. If you feel that two snacks a day are not enough during the darkest days of the year, add a third snack at night, as described for the Serotonin Surge phase.

Q. Must I eat brown rice, whole-grain pasta, and so on, or can I have starchy foods made from refined flour?

Whole grain foods have slightly more fiber and nutrients than refined foods do. But today foods that have been refined are enriched with the nutrients that were removed during processing. The USDA suggests that half of the carbohydrates you eat every day should come from whole grains (like whole wheat bread or brown rice). This means that the other half may come from the refined variety, like white rice or traditional pasta.