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The Serotonin Power Diet: Use Your Brain's Natural Chemistry to Cut Cravings, Curb Emotional Overeating, and Lose Weight

3.9 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 1594863466
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JUDITH J. WURTMAN, PhD, received her PhD from George Washington University is recognized world-wide for her pioneering research into the relationship of food, mood, brain, and appetite. The author of five books for the general public, she has written more than 40 peer-reviewed articles for professional publications. She divides her time between Massachusetts and Florida.

NINA FRUSZTAJER MARQUIS, MD received her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University and her medical degree from George Washington University. Her articles on weight, stress, and lifestyle have appeared in numerous publications. With Judith Wurtman, she founded the Adara weight loss centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Miami.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594863466
  • ASIN: B00196UBL2
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, is former Director of the Program in Women's Health at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clinical Research Center. She was the founder and director of the TRIAD weight management center at McLean Hospital and co-founder of the ADARA weight management center in Boston, MA .

Dr. Wurtman received a BA from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, her MA from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and her PhD from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Wurtman has had articles published in many professional journals, such as Journal of Nutrition, Journal of Psychiatric Research, International Journal of Eating Disorders, International Journal of Obesity, and Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and is the author of several books. Additionally, she is the recipient of several honors and awards from the American Dietetic Association, American Institute of Nutrition, and The American Society for Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr Wurtman' s research has focused on the relationship between emotional state, carbohydrate craving and brain serotonin. With her husband, Richard, she demonstrated that overeating is often related to the need to decrease stress. They showed that when carbohydrate-rich foods are eaten, the resulting production of brain serotonin improved emotional stability. . She discovered how the consumption of t moderate amounts of carbohydrate prior to meals could decrease subsequent food intake and thus be used as a natural means of appetite control. These discoveries led to the development of a nutritional product for the mood and appetite changes of PMS and the development of a comprehensive weight loss program. Further research on carbohydrate craving during treatment with anti-depressants lead to strategies to minimize and reverse weight gain caused by such drugs.

Dr Wurtman has written several books on nutrition and weight loss including Managing your Mind and Mood Through Food and The Serotonin Solution. Her most recent book co-authored with Nina Marquis, M.D , the Serotonin Power Diet was published by Rodale Press in 2007.
The book is based on her clinical experience as the founder and director of TRIAD, a weight loss center associated with Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital.. The clinic treated clients whose obesity was caused by emotional overeating and/or treatment with antidepressant and related drugs. ADARA, the private weight loss practice co-founded with Dr Marquis , carries on a similar program.

.Dr Wurtman is steady contributor of articles on obesity, nutrition, exercise and life style for the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Web Md and Wellsphere. She also has her own web site, www.serotoninpowerdiet.com and a live weekly radio program on an NPR affiliate, WHDD.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In 1998 I weighed 135 pounds, and struggled with anxiety and bipolar disorder. 2 doctors and several medications later, I am now symptom free, but found my weight often flucuating to as high as 225 - not good for a woman 5'6". The medications that have changed my life for the better, have wrecked my self image. I have tried everything - The Zone, Atkins, Weight Watchers (I gained every week at the meeting), Jenny Craig, 3 personal trainers, 2 nutritionists, and a hospital that told me that because of the medications I take there was nothing they could do for me. My last nutritionist was kind enough to tell me that I needed to eat Slim-Fast 2x a day, and a small dinner for the rest of my life, and work out 60 minutes a day at a minimum. She also indicated that I might be able to take off 15-20 pounds, but probably not all of the weight.

I don't know if my situation is familiar to anyone out there, but I wanted to post to let you know that for the first time I have NO carb cravings. That has been my biggest problem. That and the fact that I am so tired from the medications that I just find it hard to get motivated to workout.

I bought this book thinking that it wouldn't work - nothing ever has. Then I read the study online, and I figured, "what do I have to lose?" Apparently 4 pounds the first week, and 3 pounds the second week on the diet. I have also dropped my calories to 1400 a day (from about 2500), and am now working out 30 minutes a day because I finally have the energy! I was hungry the first 4 days, and now I find myself realizing that I forgot to eat.

The premise is simple: 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. Snacks are all carbs to release serotonin, which helps make you feel full so you aren't as hungry when meal time comes.
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Format: Hardcover
As a nutritionist who specializes in helping people eat with food intolerances, such as the gluten-free diet, I particularly love the Serotonin Power Diet for my clients. I have studied for 10 years how diet impacts brain chemistry and the immune system. The idea that the brain contains the master switch to turn off appetite is more than exciting, it is scientifically sound. Research at MIT and elsewhere confirms that Mom was wrong: this diet allows you to spoil your appetite and reap the weight loss and mood benefits. Mom just didn't know about serotonin!

My gluten-free clients initially lose weight as they shift away from wheat-based bread, pasta, cake, and cookies. Some who suddenly cut out all simple carbs experience a drop in serotonin level that leads to mood swings- this is particularly difficult since people who have recently eliminated wheat are also fighting a withdrawal from the mild opiates in wheat protein. I now advise my clients about the principles of the Serotonin Power Diet, to ease them emotionally through this transition period.

The initial weight loss, however, is usually reversed once the client becomes familiar with all the great gluten-free versions of their favorite foods and where to buy them. Gluten-free dieters learn to carry their own snacks with them, so The Serotonin Power Diet, as a snack-based diet, works very well for my clients who want to lose weight. Remembering to eat a gluten-free starchy snack before meals and in the evening is a cinch.

There are so many ways to make this diet gluten-free and, as I advise my clients, include more whole grains.
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Format: Hardcover

In 1996 I discovered Dr. Wurtman's "Managing Your Mind and Moods through Foods" . I had experimented with almost every popular get well feel good diet and method in a lifelong quest to counter family genes that included diabetes, obesity, and severe bi polar episodes.......Following Dr. Wurtman's suggestions changed my life. It is ten years and I can safely say, Dr. Wurtman has discovered the way we humans can control our appetites and moods...and sleep.......At the core is brain chemistry, self regulated by snacks! Her most recent book, "The Serotonin Power Diet" offers clear and practical and effective ways to manage yourself in very healthy ways......This book should be required reading for anyone embarking on fad diets or who are considering medication for their health or mood problems. William K. Joseph
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Format: Hardcover
If you you are anything like me, you love carbs. With that in mind - what could be better than having a delightful snack consisting of Biscotti, granola bars or popcorn - and actually have them help you lose weight? No, I'm not kidding. The Serotonin Power Diet is designed to teach you about healthy eating - including "timing" your carbohydrate snacks so they can work for, not against, you and your weight. Here's why.

Longtime friends, Dr. Judith J. Wurtman and Dr. Nina Frusztajer Marquis, made a fascinating discovery. Through years of laboratory research at MIT, clinical studies in weight loss and private practice, they noticed, most people - especially women - gained large amounts of weight after taking antidepressants and mood stabilizing drugs. Their passion for understanding the brain's role in controlling appetite led them to locate the nucleus of "emotional triggers" that cause weight gain. Turns out the neurotransmitter, serotonin, (or lack thereof) is one of the most important variables in both weight gain and depression, according to their findings.

What exactly is serotonin? In laymen's terms: It's the chemical that gives your brain and your body a happy satisfied feeling. It also, according to authors Wurtman and Marquis, is the "switch that turns off your appetite." Imagine it - a switch that puts you in control of your weight loss! How to give your brain the serotonin boost it needs? Eating a timed carbohydrate snack before each meal. It's music to this carb-lovers ears!

Authors Wurtman and Marquis remind us that sure we will lose weight quickly on any of the new fancy low-carbohydrate diets, however, most of that weight is water. Once the water has been removed, the body will seek to metabolize precious muscle for fuel.
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