Bryce Wylde, an alternative health expert (Author of Wylde on Health), appeared on the Dr. Oz show to share his new Dopamine Diet – a diet that combines state of the art science with more holistic therapies. The diet provides a natural way of dealing with, and curbing, food cravings and over-eating, through regulation of dopamine levels. This ultimately leads to weight loss that lasts long term.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls how much we eat, as well as what we eat. It also controls the part of our moods that make us “feel good”, or pleasure. This makes your chocolate or caffeine craving not about the actual chocolate or caffeine itself, but about the dopamine release that they trigger. Even receiving a message you’ve waited all day for will trigger a dopamine release.
Low levels of dopamine cause cravings and a constant hunger that can never really be satisfied (constant pleasure from eating means that you will continue eating). Often, this causes us to eat the wrong foods, because they trigger surges in dopamine levels. Unfortunately, they also burn out quickly, and cause dips in those levels, and the search is back on for more food — and the cycle continues. The body struggles to balance these levels and begins to down-regulate the dopamine receptors, sometimes leaving the body with a deficiency.
Dr. Oz pointed out two images of the human brain. The brain with normal dopamine receptors had red patches on it, but the brain with low levels of dopamine receptors had a fraction of the amount of red. He pointed out that the image of the deficient brain could just as easily be that of a crack addict, as that of an over-weight binge eater. Even though this is hard-wired into our bodies, if we can identify the issue, we can find a way to deal with it naturally.
Craving or Dopamine Issue?
Mr. Wylde gave three indicators that could mean a person is suffering from a dopamine deficiency. If any one of the following statements applies to you, you might have a dopamine issue:
* Late night trips to the kitchen to seek out dopamine surging foods, more than twice a week.
* Eating when full, just because it’s there and makes you feel good.
* Becoming irritable and tired when cutting down on dopamine surging foods.
The Dopamine Diet
If you have low dopamine, you need a natural way to keep yourself satisfied throughout the day, that allows for slow release and not surges. The Dopamine Diet helps to suppress cravings, through providing you with foods high in tyrosine (a precursor to dopamine). By making sure you are consistently eating these types of food, you can reduce your cravings and limit the amount of snacking during the diet.
The top 10 foods containing Tyrosine are: fava beans, oats, chicken, wheat germ, duck, edamame, ricotta cheese, mustard greens, chocolate, and algae. The more that these foods are incorporated into your diet, the less often you are going to go back and seek more. This allows you to have just “that one piece” of chocolate, instead of slowly eating the whole bar. The fava bean is the highest source of tyrosine, with levels not found in other foods, so they should always be added to any diet. Game meats have some of the highest levels of meat tyrosine.
Sample meals are as follows:
Oatmeal with a wheat germ garnish and some raspberries.
Salad, but ensure that you use mustard greens instead of lettuce (add turkey if you like).
Duck with a fava bean puree (this should keep your cravings under control for the night).
Snack (only if necessary):
Toast with low fat, sweetened ricotta cheese and a blackberry.
Morning is the most important time to get dopamine regulation started for the remainder of the day. Take L-Tyrosine in supplement form every morning, on an empty stomach (to keep it from having to compete with other absorption), regardless of what diet you are on. Take 500-1000mg, four to six weeks at a time. Also, taking DHA Omega-3 supplements with this diet is not only good for your brain and heart, but it will super-charge your tyrosine levels.