Tag Archives: EPA

Paul McGlothin – How To Be Happy On A Low Calorie Diet

5 Jun

This post presents a talk by Paul McGlothin best selling author of ‘The CR Way’. Im sure many people know about the positive benefits of calorie restriction on increased life span from yeast to humans. Although at a first glance this doesn’t seem to be so appropriate in breaking food addiction it offers some powerful insights, and so I posted it. In the video he talks about how to undertake a calorie restricted diet, and avoid many of those negative feelings that drive people back to the crapboard. This is especially relevant to me because I am essentially on a calorie restricted diet, and therefore a lot of his advice was useful. In the answers and questions time, at the end of the video, he explains that anyone on a low calorie diet is doing CR to some degree. The video is about 30 mins long, but if you want the best part watch from minute 9:00 to 15:00. The below picture is from the New York Times showing two monkeys – one eating CR and one on a normal diet.

If you can’t be bothered watching the video at all I have summarised the main points.

1. Increase serotonin: High levels of serotonin leads to reduced anxiety, obsession, depression and increases satiety as well as feelings of happiness. You can help to increase serotonin levels by eating foods that help to aid in its production (post coming soon). He says that we should consume olive oil and vegetable broth each day. I know that Mediterranean diets have been shown to increase the serotonin levels of people who eat them resulting in less depression. Of course carbohydrates also increase serotonin levels, like candy, but only for a few hours and then you get the come down (dum dum dummmmmm).

2. Increase EPA intake: This Omega 3 Fatty Acid  has also been shown by researchers to increase happiness (again post coming soon). This is easily done by popping fish oil.

3. Lower glucose for higher brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): BDNF acts on certain neurons of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. Rats that have persistently low BDNF were found to eventually have atrophy of the hippocampus. Obviously, a low carbohydrate diet is the most efficient way to reduce glucose in the bloodstream.

4. Savour the flavour: Basically eat slowly so you get satisfied with the food you do eat, and this will help to reduce the cravings you have. Aside from feeling mentally satisfied you will also know when you are physiologically full prior to eating five cheesecakes, a pie and four bags of crisps.

5. Increase endorphins through exercise or sex: Don’t think I need to go into this too much do I? Endorphins make you feel happy and the above exercises will increase them. Lets leave it at that.

6. Meditate to reduce stress: Epinephrine (Adrenalin) increases in people who restrict calories. This helps to reduce glucose but generally is not a good thing. Meditation can help to reduce this hormone.

What I can’t stand is the anti-meat sentiment of CR proponents. Sometimes it seems like a vegan movement. I think this is where the paleo diet and CR differ significantly. You can be on a calorie restricted diet on paleo, be getting the most amount of nutrients you can possibly get, and still be eating meat! In fact it is BECAUSE you eat meat that you get the whole suite of nutrients that you need. Also, as intermittent fasting proponents know scientific evidence is starting to show that animals that do this gain the same positive anti-ageing bonuses as animals on CR – even though they are eating a normal calorie diet. It seems the success of these approaches is tied somehow to the fed/hunger state rather than calorie intake.

Here is the video, enjoy!