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The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Problems, and Mood Swings-Now

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This fast, personalized body repair manual for weight loss, mood balance, and energy will leave you satisfied--not starving.

More than eighty million Americans are regular dieters and eight million of them suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Just as many eat normally but still gain weight. Finally, there is a plan to end yo-yo dieting and binge eating. Based on ten years of proven clinical results, The Diet Cure shatters the myths to ...
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Overview

This fast, personalized body repair manual for weight loss, mood balance, and energy will leave you satisfied--not starving.

More than eighty million Americans are regular dieters and eight million of them suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Just as many eat normally but still gain weight. Finally, there is a plan to end yo-yo dieting and binge eating. Based on ten years of proven clinical results, The Diet Cure shatters the myths to reveal the real causes of overeating and weight gain. In this individualized program that begins with an 8-Step Quick Symptom Questionnaire, you'll discover your unique underlying biochemical imbalances--hormonal irregularities, blood sugar swings, food allergy/addictions, unrecognized thyroid dysfunction, and a deficiency of "good" fats. And you will learn how to eliminate them with your own targeted nutrition strategies.

A pioneer in the field of nutritional psychology, Julia Ross has developed a breakthrough method using amino acids to jump-start the program. You will feel your mood improve and your food cravings disappear within 24 hours. Charts, worksheets, and inspiring case histories from Ross's own clinic offer readers of Sugarbusters and Eat Right 4 Your Type a safe, easy-to-follow, customized program to rebalance their body chemistry and attain their ideal health weight for good.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Nutritional psychologist Julia Ross never tells the patients she treats at her eating and weight disorders clinic, Recovery Systems, that they lack willpower. On the contrary, she sees people every day who have done their best to lose weight, but nothing seems to work. In fact, dieting often does more harm than good. What they really need, she contends, is a biochemical overhaul. In her new book, The Diet Cure, Ross writes that most chronic yo-yo dieters suffer from one or (often) more of the eight biochemical imbalances she has identified that contribute to food cravings, mood swings, and weight problems.

Ross writes that she first discovered the link between biochemical imbalance and weight problems while counseling outpatient drug and alcohol addicts. She and the staff nutritionist found that certain nutritional supplements could help end the clients' drug and alcohol cravings, and also seemed to stem the insatiable craving for sweets many of them experienced. At her own clinic, Ross treats patients suffering from severe eating disorders and those simply looking for an escape from yo-yo dieting, low energy, and moodiness. The key to her program is supplements of amino acids that she contends can help to rebalance levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, but this is just the first step in her eight-step program. The others target harmful low-calorie dieting, unstable blood sugar levels, low thyroid function, food allergies, hormonal imbalances, yeast overgrowth, and fatty acid deficiency, all of which, Ross has found, contribute to chronic weight andmoodproblems.

The Diet Cure begins with a detailed questionnaire designed to help readers discover which of these imbalances are likely to be at the root of their own problems; each is then addressed in a chapter with specific information on how to correct the imbalance. A final section contains food plans, menus and recipes, a mood log, a 12-week "master plan" for following the program, and help with finding support and health professionals if needed. The relationship between weight, mood, and the body's biochemical systems is a complex one that scientists are only just beginning to understand; The Diet Cure offers a way to approach the problems that can result when imbalances occur.

Library Journal
Ross, the executive director of a clinic that treats serious eating and weight disorders, has developed a method that uses amino acids to rebalance body chemistry for the promotion of weight loss. Ross presents her eight-step program in three parts: Part 1 starts with a Quick Symptom Questionnaire to check which biochemical imbalances you might have and reviews the eight types of imbalances; Part 2 gives recommended steps to correct imbalances; and Part 3 provides a plan for maintaining good health, including menus and recipes. Although this book contains much the same type of healthy eating advice that other diet books promote, its emphasis on biochemical imbalances as the cause of weight problems and its listing of specific amino acids as the key to the solution may be just the answer some dieters have been looking for. A useful addition to public libraries.--Kristine Benishek, Shank Memorial Lib., Good Samaritan Hosp., Dayton, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756790752
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 390

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


Depleted Brain Chemistry


* * *


The Real Story Behind
"Emotional" Eating


Almost everyone who has ever come into my office has felt like a failure at weight loss. They say they just don't seem to have the willpower to stay on a diet anymore or, even if they did, they can't stick to the maintenance part of the plan. Mostly, this is because they crave sweets or breads and can't do without them for long. They start with "just a little" and end up eating a lot more than they feel they should. Often their spouses or other family members criticize them, saying, "Why don't you try harder?" "If you'd just limit yourself to one ...," which only serves to make them feel even worse about themselves. "I guess they're right," these women and men would think, "I just don't have enough self-discipline." Yet oddly, these same people are usually doing well in every other aspect of their lives. They are effective at work, they keep the bills paid and the checkbook balanced, they organize their children's lives beautifully. They mastermind professional projects while keeping their households and personal and creative lives functioning. They are models of willpower.

    It's this issue of willpower that usually begins my counseling sessions. "So why can't I lose weight?" my clients ask. I point out that they usually have lost weight—dozens, sometimes hundreds of times. Truly, there is nothing harder than dieting. Starvation by any name—famine, drought, or Optifast—is a frightfulordeal. Most of those critical spouses and family members could never stand the course of even one diet.

    So if it's not lack of willpower, what is wrong with you? Are you an emotional basket case who can't get by without comfort food? That implies that if you had more strength, you could power through your problems without overeating. Should you feel ashamed of yourself for needing emotional sustenance from foods? No! I hope to help you understand that you are using food as self-medication, and why. It's not because you are weak willed, it's because you're low in certain brain chemicals. You don't have enough of the brain chemicals that should naturally be making you emotionally strong and complete.

    These brain chemicals are thousands of times stronger than street drugs like heroin. And your body has to have them. If not, it sends out a command that is stronger than anyone's willpower: "Find a druglike food or a drug, or some alcohol, to substitute for our missing brain chemicals. We cannot function without them!" Your depression, tension, irritability, anxiety, and craving are all symptoms of a brain that is deficient in its essential calming, stimulating, and mood-enhancing chemicals.


WHY ARE YOUR NATURAL MOOD-ENHANCING CHEMICALS SOMETIMES DEFICIENT?


    Something has interfered with your body's ability to produce its own natural brain drugs. What is it? It's obviously not too unusual, or there wouldn't be so many people using food to feel better, or taking Prozac for depression relief. Actually, there are several common problems that can result in your becoming depleted in your feel-good brain chemicals, and none of them is your fault!


* You may have inherited deficiencies. We are learning more all the time about the genes that determine our moods and other personality traits. Some genes program our brains to produce certain amounts of mood-enhancing chemicals. But some of us inherited genes that undersupply some of these vital mood chemicals. That is why some of us are not emotionally well balanced and why the same emotional traits seem to run in families. If your mother always seemed to be on edge, and had a secret stash of chocolate for herself, it should come as no surprise that you, too, need foods like candy or cookies to calm yourself. Parents who have low supplies of naturally stimulating and sedating brain chemicals often produce depressed or anxious children who use food, alcohol, or drugs as substitutes for the brain chemicals they desperately need.
* Prolonged stress "uses up" your natural sedatives, stimulants, and pain relievers. This is particularly true if you have inherited marginal amounts to begin with. The emergency stores of precious brain chemicals can get used up if you continually need to use them to calm yourself over and over again. Eventually your brain can't keep up with the demand. That's why you start to "help" your brain by eating foods that have druglike effects on it.
* Regular use of druglike foods such as refined sugars and flours, and regular use of alcohol or drugs (including some medicines), can inhibit the production of any of your brain's natural pleasure chemicals. All of these substances can plug into your brain and actually fill up the empty places called receptors, where your natural brain drugs—the neurotransmitters—should be plugging in. Your brain senses that the receptors are already full, so it further reduces the amounts of neurotransmitters that it produces. As the amounts of these natural brain chemicals drop (remember, they can be thousands of times stronger than the hardest street drugs), more and more alcohol, drugs, or druglike foods are needed to fill newly emptied brain slots. This vicious circle ends when these substances you ingest are unable to "fill the bill" any longer. Now your brain's natural mood resources, never fully functional, are now more depleted than they ever were, and you still crave your mood-enhancing drugs—whether it's sugar or alcohol and cocaine.
* You may be eating too little protein. In fact, you almost certainly are if you've been dieting or avoiding fatty foods, many of which are high in protein, too. Your brain relies on protein—the only food source of amino acids—to make all of its mood-enhancing chemicals. If you are not getting enough protein, you won't be able to manufacture those crucial chemicals. A little later in this chapter and in chapter 18, you'll learn about complete and incomplete proteins, and what is "enough" protein for you. Simply put, eating the equivalent of three eggs, a chicken breast, or a fish or tofu steak at every meal might get you enough protein to keep your brain in repair.


EATING FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS


    At Recovery Systems, we treat people who use food to remedy a variety of emotional problems. Here are the stories of some typical clients.


* Brenda ate because she needed an energy boost. She needed sweets first thing in the morning to get her going and throughout the rest of the day to keep her going—especially during her three P.M. energy dip at work.
* Sharon ate at night to get to sleep. She couldn't fall asleep by ten or eleven o'clock, even on nights when she was not upset. Being upset made it worse. But a few bowls of cold cereal with milk and sugar would unravel her tension pretty reliably and help her fall asleep.
* Monica ate for comfort. She needed a treat to get through the day. A pastry in the morning, chocolate throughout the day, and a rich dessert after dinner made her life worth living, especially on bad days.
* Paul ate because he was depressed. He ate more in the wintertime and during his lonely nights. Breads, pastas, and late-night bowls of ice cream were his antidepressants.
* Brandon ate when he was angry. He stuffed himself with candy bars to keep from losing his temper, or after he'd finally exploded inappropriately, again.
* Dinah ate to numb her painful memories. She had been sexually assaulted often as a child, and food had become her ally, something she could always count on to soothe her and literally kill the pain.
* Andrea "got high" by starving. When she ate, it not only made her feel fat and bloated, but she lost her elevated mood.


    Our counselors found that with clients like these, no amount of therapy seemed to stop this "emotional" eating. I wondered if there could possibly be a physiological cause for this intractable overeating? Eventually, I would find my answer, but it would come from an unexpected source.


THE PHYSICAL CAUSE
OF EMOTIONAL EATING


    In the late 1970s, I was the supervisor of a large San Francisco alcoholism treatment program. Our clients were very serious about getting sober, and we gave them the most intensive treatment available anywhere. Yet they could not stop drinking. Eighty to ninety percent relapse rates were standard then, and still are, in the alcohol- and drug-addiction fields.

    As I studied these heartbreaking relapses, I began to see a pattern. Our clients had stopped drinking, but they had quickly developed a heavy addiction to sweets. Sugar is almost identical to alcohol biochemically. Both are highly refined, simple carbohydrates that are instantly absorbed, not needing digestion (complex carbs, like whole grains, need time to be digested). Both sugar and alcohol instantly skyrocket blood sugar levels and temporarily raise levels of at least two potent mood chemicals in the brain. This high would be followed by a low, of course. So, just as when they were using alcohol, our clients who had switched to eating large amounts of sugar were moody, unstable, and full of cravings. Since alcohol usually works even faster than sugar does, at some point, caught in a particularly low mood, they would break down and have a drink to get some relief. One drink would become a full-blown relapse.

    In 1980, when I became the director of the program, I began hiring nutritionists to help solve this disturbing relapse problem. They suggested to our clients that they quit eating sweetened foods, foods made from refined (white) flour, and caffeine, and that they eat more whole grains and vegetables. Unfortunately, these nutritional efforts didn't pay off. For reasons that we understood only later, our clients just couldn't stop eating the sweets and starches that eventually led them back to alcohol. For six years we struggled for a solution. Then, in 1986, we found one.

    The solution came from Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, the director of a nutritionally oriented alcoholism-treatment center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This brilliant pioneer, the author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety, introduced me to a technique that was quickly eliminating her alcoholic clients' cravings and raising her center's long-term success rate from 20 percent to 80 percent! The technique involved the use of specific amino acids that could rapidly feed the addicted brain exactly the type of protein that it needed to naturally fill up its empty mood-chemical sites. The results were spectacular. No longer did alcoholic clients need sweets or alcohol to feel good! Amino acid therapy revolutionized the work at our clinic, too, dramatically raising our success rates with alcohol- and drug-addicted clients. Moreover, we were able to successfully treat clients with other addictions as well. In fact, our most spectacular successes were with food-addicted clients. Ninety percent of the compulsive overeaters we have treated with amino acid therapy have been freed from their addiction within forty-eight hours.


USING AMINO ACIDS TO
END EMOTIONAL EATING


    When psychological help does not clear up emotional eating, we need to look at the four brain chemicals—neurotransmitters—that create our moods. They are:


    1. dopamine/norepinephrine, our natural energizer

    2. GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), our natural sedative

    3. endorphin, our natural painkiller

    4. serotonin, our natural mood stabilizer, sleep promoter, and mind-focusing chemical


    If we have enough of all four, our emotions are stable. When they are depleted, or out of balance, what we call "pseudo-emotions" can result. These false moods can be every bit as distressing as those triggered by abuse, loss, or trauma. They can drive us to relentless overeating.

    For some of us, certain foods, particularly ones that are sweet and starchy, can have a druglike effect, altering our brains' mood chemistry and fooling us into a false calm, or a temporary energy surge. We can eventually become dependent on these druglike foods for continued mood lifts. The more we use them, the more depleted our natural mood-enhancing chemistry becomes. Substituting amino acid supplements for these drug foods can have immediate and dramatic effects.

    Toni, a 26-year-old Native American, was referred to our clinic because she was exhausted, profoundly depressed, anxious, and suffering lifelong trauma from the physical and emotional violence of her family.

    Toni drank alcohol and ate sweets to cope. She went regularly to her scheduled counseling sessions but was unable to rouse herself to communicate with her counselor. She had volunteered to come to Recovery Systems, hoping that a new approach would help. Toni had already been through three long-term treatment programs for alcohol addiction. Clearly, she was motivated to solve her problem.

    When we saw Toni's condition, the nutritionist and I conferred and decided to give her amino acids on the spot. I asked her to tell me one thing: What was the worst thing she was experiencing at that moment? She said, "I'm soooo tired." Her slumped body and still, dull eyes confirmed this.

    Our goal? To treat her lack of energy and depression by raising her levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, the body's natural energizer. We gave her our smallest dose—500 milligrams of L-tyrosine. While we waited and hoped for an effect, I spoke about how and why amino acids can be helpful.

    After about ten minutes, Toni said, "I'm not tired anymore."

    "Great!" I said. And then I asked my next question: "What is the worst thing you are experiencing, now that your energy is better?"

    She answered by bending over and grasping herself around the stomach. "I'm really uptight."

    We then gave Toni the smallest dose of GABA—100 milligrams—a natural Valium-like chemical along with 300 milligrams of L-taurine. We suspected that together these supplements would help relieve her tension and allow her to relax—and they did. She stretched her legs out in front of her and then stood up, got a glass of water, and went to the bathroom. While she was gone, her counselor came in and happened to tell me that Toni was in a lot of emotional pain because of the chronic alcoholic violence in her family. When her family members drank alcohol, they all became different people, vicious and cruel. And they had never been able to stay away from alcohol.

    When Toni returned, I asked her, "Can we give you something to help you endure the emotional pain that you are in?" She said yes, so I gave her a supplement containing 300 milligrams DL-phenylalanine and 150 milligrams L-glutamine. (DL-phenylalanine is the amino acid used to alleviate emotional pain.)

    In ten minutes I asked Toni how she was feeling, and she smiled and said, "Just right."

    I was incredulous. How could these small amounts really be helping her? Our European American clients usually need two to four times as much of each type of amino acid to get such dramatic effects.

    I asked if she would like any more of any of the aminos I had already given her for energy, relaxation, or pain relief. Her answer: "Just right," and a shake of her head.

    By this time Toni's eyes were sparkling. Weeks later her counselor reported that by continuing with the amino acids she had first used in our office, Toni was actually talking for the first time in their counseling sessions, was being praised at work, and was being noticed for the first time by men.


Mood Foods: How Amino Acids Feed Your Brain


The four key mood chemicals (neurotransmitters) are made of amino acids. There are at least twenty-two amino acids contained in protein foods. High-protein foods, such as fish, eggs, chicken, and beef, contain all twenty-two, including the nine amino acids that are considered essential for humans. Other foods, such as grains and beans, have some but not all of the essential nine aminos, so they need to be carefully combined to provide a complete protein (for example, rice and beans, or corn and nuts).

    If you are eating three meals a day, each meal including plenty of protein (most people with eating and weight problems are doing neither), your positive moods and freedom from cravings can be maintained. But most people need to kick-start the brain's repair job, using certain key amino acids. This will allow you to actually enjoy eating protein and vegetables instead of cookies and ice cream. After a few months, you will be getting all the aminos you need from your food alone and won't need to take amino acids as supplements any longer.

    Restoring depleted brain chemistry sounds like a big job—but it isn't. Three of the four neurotransmitters that color all your moods are made from just a single amino acid each! Because biochemists have isolated the key amino acids, you can easily add the specific ones that may be deficient. These "free form" amino acids are instantly bioavailable (in other words they are predigested), unlike protein powders from soy or milk, which can be hard to absorb. Hundreds of research studies at Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere (some of which date back to the early part of this century) have confirmed the effectiveness of using just a few targeted amino acid "precursors" to increase the key neurotransmitters, thereby eliminating depression, anxiety, and cravings for food, alcohol, and drugs.


Stopping Carbohydrate Cravings


It may sound impossible, but you can stop your food cravings almost instantly with just one amino acid supplement. Any absence of fuel for your brain's functions is perceived correctly by your body as a code-red emergency. Powerful biochemical messages then order you to immediately eat refined carbohydrates to quickly fuel your brain. There are only two fuels that the brain can readily use:


1. glucose, which is blood sugar made from sweets, starches, or alcohol
2. L-glutamine, an amino acid available in protein foods (or as a supplement, carried in all health food stores).


    L-glutamine reaches the starving brain within minutes and can often immediately put a stop to even the most powerful sweet and starch cravings. The brain feeds on L-glutamine instead of glucose and is satisfied. Don't be intimidated by the strong effects of supplementation. L-glutamine is a natural food substance; in fact, it's the most abundant amino acid in our bodies. It serves many critical purposes: stabilizing our mental functioning, keeping us calm yet alert, and promoting good digestion.


Restoring Energy and Focus


When your brain is adequately fueled with its back-up emergency supplies of L-glutamine, you are ready to rebuild your four key neurotransmitters, starting with dopamine/norepinephrine, your natural caffeine. Without this natural brain stimulant, you can be slow and tired and have a hard time concentrating. You don't sparkle and can't stay on track mentally. It's hard to get things done and you can feel dull and sometimes just want to stay in bed. Your physical as well as your mental energy drops without adequate norepinephrine. The amino acid that provides this jet-fuel is the nutritional powerhouse L-tyrosine. L-tyrosine produces thyroid hormones and testosterone as well as norepinephrine. Like L-glutamine, L-tyrosine goes to work in minutes to perk you up.


Enhancing Your Ability to Relax


The next key mood-enhancing chemical is GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), our natural Valium. GABA acts like a sponge, soaking up excess adrenaline and other by-products of stress and leaving us relaxed. It seems to drain the tension and stiffness right out of knotted muscles. GABA can even smooth out seizure activity in the brain. My colleague, Elliott Wagner, a specialist in drug detox, taught me that GABA can even give relief to heroin addicts going through the severe anxiety of early withdrawal. Think what it can do for garden variety stress and uptightness!


WHEN FOOD IS COMFORT


    For many people, overeating helps compensate for a depletion of the natural pain relievers, the endorphins. Life's pain can be unendurable without adequate amounts of these buffer chemicals. Some of us (for example, those of us from alcoholic families) may be born with too little natural pain tolerance. We are overly sensitive to emotional (and sometimes physical) pain. We cry easily. Like our alcoholic parents, we need something to help us endure our daily lives, which seem so painful. Others of us use up too much endorphin through trauma and stress. We just run out, especially if we were born short on endorphins to begin with. When our comfort chemicals run low, many of us turn to comfort foods.

    If you need food as a reward and a treat, or to numb your feelings, your natural pleasure enhancers, the pain-killing endorphins, are probably in short supply. Foods that elevate your endorphin activity can easily become addictive. If you "love" certain foods, those foods are firing a temporary surge of endorphins—the"love" chemicals that are thousands of times stronger than heroin. Endorphins can do more than kill pain, they provide the sensation of pleasure, too. ("That chocolate truffle tasted so good.") Orgasm releases a surge of endorphins. Euphoria, joy, the "runher's high"—these are all feelings produced by endorphins. Some people have so much natural endorphin that they smile all the time and get great pleasure from everyday life. Of course, we all endure suffering and loss. But, with enough endorphins, we can bounce back.

    For anorectics and bulimics, the trauma of starving and vomiting can trigger an addictive endorphin high, because trauma of any kind can set off an automatic burst of soothing endorphins. You may know of people who felt no pain for hours after a terrible physical injury. Runners don't get their big endorphin high until they have run past "the wall of pain." At that point, they have run too far!


Raising Serotonin, Our Natural Prozac


Low serotonin can be the easiest deficiency of all to develop. Very few foods are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which is the only nutrient that the body can use to make serotonin. According to a 1997 Lancet study, tryptophan is one of the first nutrients to be depleted by weight-loss dieting. If, in addition to dieting, you inherited low serotonin levels and experience a lot of stress, your levels can fall low enough to set off a major eating disorder or serious emotional disturbances.

    Restoring your serotonin levels can be a life-or-death matter. Suicides and violent crimes are closely associated with deficiencies of serotonin. The fatal obsessions and self-hate of bulimics and anorectics are clearly linked to low serotonin levels.

    Do you have any obsessions that might be caused by low serotonin levels? The women I have worked with who report obsessive behavior tend to be "neat-niks" and suffer from negative obsessing about their physical appearance, while the men are often "neat-freaks," although they also complain about troubling sexual fantasies they can't stop. As we all know, anorectics (who are low in serotonin) are driven to obsessive control of their food intake. Obsessive fears and phobias are common among people with low serotonin levels.

    It may be a difficult adjustment for you to begin to see symptoms like control, fear, and low self-esteem as biochemical problems, not just psychological ones. But the success of drugs like Prozac has already alerted us to the biochemical nature of many symptoms that don't respond to psychological help alone.

    Drugs like Prozac are called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they keep whatever serotonin we have active. But they do not actually provide additional serotonin. For this reason, most people using SSRIs often continue to have some low-serotonin symptoms. Before there were SSRIs, the pharmaceutical compound L-tryptophan was commonly used to increase serotonin levels. For more than twenty years, psychiatrists and health food stores enthusiastically recommended it for relieving depression and food cravings and normalizing sleep without side effects. Many people found that their symptoms were eliminated permanently after only a few months of L-tryptophan use.

    In 1989 a series of bad batches of L-tryptophan, which killed forty people and made many more very sick, prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop all U.S. sales. One Japanese company, Showa Denko, had produced all of these batches, which, it was found, were contaminated because they had eliminated three filter systems that they'd been using for years—just why they chose to take away these safety filters is a question that remains unanswered. Showa Denko has never made tryptophan again. Despite evidence that no other manufacturer has ever made a problem batch, the FDA recommended for years that L-tryptophan not be used as a supplement. (Interestingly, they have made no effort to stop the sale of infant formulas, most of which contain L-tryptophan.)

    With L-tryptophan unavailable, SSRI drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, and Redux have become our primary tools for combating the crippling symptoms of low serotonin. Unfortunately, these drugs provide only temporary and incomplete benefits, and often have uncomfortable or dangerous side effects. Fortunately, in 1996, many compounding pharmacies began providing L-tryptophan again, by physician prescription, and a new version of tryptophan called 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) became available over the counter in 1998 without FDA opposition.


Whatever mood-enhancing brain chemicals you have in short supply, they can be replenished quickly, easily, and safely. Chapter 9 will give you detailed information on how to create an amino supplement plan individualized for your unique brain chemistry needs.


Amino Acids Help Post-Optifasters


    In a study published in October 1997, University of Texas researcher Dr. Kenneth Blum and colleagues monitored two groups of dieters for two years after they had completed a medically monitored fast. The fasters had used the product Optifast, a powdered nutritional drink containing various vitamins and minerals, which dieters use to replace one, two, or even three meals a day. In Dr. Blum's study, 247 Optifast graduates were divided into two equal groups. One group took a formula consisting of three amino acids, the other group took no amino acids. As we know from Oprah Winfrey's highly publicized experience with Optifast, and from the 1992 Senate investigation of Optifast and Nutrisystems, a quick regain of weight after a liquid fast is to be expected in more than 90 percent of cases. However, this did not happen to Dr. Blum's amino acid-taking group.

    At the end of two years, the amino acid takers showed:


* a twofold decrease in percent overweight for both males and females;
* a 70 percent decrease in craving for females and a 63 percent decrease for males;
* a 66 percent decrease in binge eating for females and a 41 percent decrease for males;
* and the experimental group regained only 14.7 percent of the weight they lost during fasting while the control group regained 41.7 percent of their lost weight.


How Effective Are L-tyrosine and GABA?


    A few years ago a young couple came into my office for help with a big problem. She had discovered that her husband was using speed (methamphetamine) on a daily basis. Her father had just died of alcoholism, and she had come home from the funeral to discover her husband with his drugs laid out on the kitchen table. She was distraught and furious (and she had a tendency to be tense and edgy, anyway). She told him he had three days to assemble a recovery plan or move out. He threw his drugs away and made an appointment to see me. He told me that he had started to use speed on the road as a performer when his energy had started to sag years before. Now, years later, he was always tired unless he was on speed. He'd been secretly using it daily for years. When he got to me, he had used no speed in two days, and he was exhausted, trying hard to stay awake.

    As they sat together, the husband was slumped dejectedly back into his chair, and his wife was ramrod straight on the edge of hers. I left to consult briefly with our nutritionist and came back with 1,000 milligrams of L-tyrosine for the husband and 500 milligrams of GABA for his wife. Within twenty minutes, the wife was sitting back, relaxed and smiling, while her husband was straight-backed and alert. Correcting their brain chemistries helped enormously in getting their marriage back on track: He left the next day for an inpatient treatment program that I referred him to, she went home with her GABA. It is now five years later, and he has not used drugs since. He is back on stage and his energy is fine without drugs, largely because of the L-tyrosine that he used for six months to rebuild his own brain energy system. His wife relaxes with her GABA whenever she needs to.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi
INTRODUCTION: 8 STEPS TO THE DIET CURE xv
THE QUICK SYMPTOM QUESTIONNAIRE xxi
Part I Identifying the Eight Imbalances 1
ONE Depleted Brain Chemistry: The Real Story Behind
"Emotional" Eating 3
TWO Malnutrition Due to Low-Calorie Dieting: The Number
One Cause of Overeating, Weight Gain, Bulimia, and 16
THREE Unstable Blood Sugar: Carbohydrate Addiction,
Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Adrenal Exhaustion 39
FOUR Unrecognized Low Thyroid Function: Tired, Cold, and
Overweight 52
FIVE Food Addictions and Allergic Reactions: The Three
Culprits 66
SIX Hormonal Havoc: PMS, Menopause, and the Food-Mood
Connection 79
SEVEN Yeast Overgrowth: A Hidden Cause of Food Cravings 92
EIGHT Fatty Acid Deficiency: Why You Can't Stop Eating
Chips, Cheese, and Fries 102
Part II Correcting Your Imbalances 115
NINE Refueling Your Brain Chemistry with Amino Acids 117
TEN Nutritional Rehab for the Ex-Dieter 131
ELEVEN Balancing Your Blood Sugar 147
TWELVE ThyroidSolutions 168
THIRTEEN Overcoming Addictions to Allergy Foods 184
FOURTEEN Hormone Help 200
FIFTEEN Repairing the Damage Caused from Yeasts 220
SIXTEEN The Fatty Acid Fix 230
Part III Your Master Plan for the Diet Cure 239
SEVENTEEN Your Master Nutritional Supplement Plan 241
EIGHTEEN The Best Foods for Your Special Biochemistry:
Your Master Eating Plan 257
NINETEEN Shopping for Your Master Plan Supplies and
Planning Your Meals 280
TWENTY Menus, Meal Ideas, and Recipes 304
TWENTY-ONE Essential Support: Exercise, Relaxation,
Counselors, and Health Care Resources 337
TWENTY-TWO Your Master Plan in Action: The Diet Cure from
Day One to Week Twelve 355
APPENDIX: A FOLLOW-UP OF SIX RECOVERY SYSTEMS CLIENTS 372
NOTES 378
INDEX 382
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