Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Can You Get Mood Swings If You Go on a Protein Diet? (part 1 of 2)

Food intake has a very big influence in our emotions.  The idea, smell, feel and taste of food, for example, can often be enough to produce feelings of euphoria, nostalgia, joy and satisfaction.  But what happens when certain foods are eliminated, such as when a person is on a diet?  Will you get mood swings during protein diets and if so, how can this be corrected?

How protein affects your mood
Protein is an important nutrient.  Its sources include meat, fish, chicken, soy and soy products, dairy products and nuts.  When ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream, protein stimulates the body to release two important neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine.

These neurotransmitters help the body feel more energetic, awake and alert.  This explains why after a good, complete meal, we feel refreshed and active.  The lack of sufficient protein in the diet, on the other hand, produces the feeling of drowsiness.  This can then lead to feelings of tiredness and irritation.

Conversely, too much protein in the diet can also lead to certain side effects.  More protein can encourage the production of hormones that increases the body's ability to stay awake.  People who don't regulate their protein intake could become restless and find it difficult to fall asleep.

The case against protein diets vs. your mood
So can going through a protein diet bring about mood swings?  According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the protein diet and other similar diets that reduce the intake of carbohydrates can lead to a bad mood.

Carbohydrates are known to speed up the production of serotonin, another neurotransmitter.  It produces a feeling of relaxation and calm in individuals.  It is also a hormone that is responsible for regulating human emotions and thus, is often prescribed to treat depression and mood swings.  Without sufficient serotonin, a condition that is common among people who go through protein diets over a prolonged period, it would be difficult for the body to regulate disposition.

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