Dr. Oz’s Dopamine Diet

Losing weight is easy right? You just eat less, maybe exercise more, and the weight falls off. Oh yeah, that isn't reality. Food cravings crop up the instant you start to cut back. Before you know it, you are eating a slice of cake over the sink and telling yourself that you can start another diet TOMORROW! Dr. Oz has a new idea: dopamine can deal with those powerful cravings, making dieting easier and more effective.

Dopamine is a chemical that naturally occurs in your brain. It plays a key role in moderating your emotions and your feeling of well-being. It is a partner chemical to serotonin, which is also linked to your mood and metabolism.

Dopamine is manufactured by your body, built up from a component in food called tyrosine. Tyrosine is found in fowl (chicken, duck) some cheeses (ricotta is a favorite), edamame, dark chocolate (yay!), wheat germ and seaweed. Oh, yes, and in fava beans, famous for their role in “Silence of the Lambs.”

Normally, you get enough tyrosine from your diet to manufacture ample amounts of dopamine. That is, until you start a diet. Then you might unintentionally cut out the very foods that let your body make dopamine. Then the food cravings start and your metabolism slows down.

What can you do? You can choose a diet that features tyrosine-rich foods. You don’t need to eat a lot, but don’t cut them out entirely. Otherwise, you can take a supplement to fill in the gap. Look for L-Tyrosine pills or powder. It turns out that tyrosine comes in “L” and “R” varieties. Start up a stimulating conversation with a chemist sometime on that subject. Anyway, most nutrition-focused stores will carry the L-Tyrosine pills that you’re after.

Could this work for you? It certainly can’t hurt including tyrosine-rich foods in your diet. Be very cautious about the L-Tyrosine pills, though, if you have high blood pressure or heart issues. It can interact with related medications. Check with your doctor first.

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