To be too good to be true?


Stick to the diet and be happy at the same time? According to Anne Dufour and Carole Garnier, this is possible - with the help of the right happiness hormones.

While you usually start a diet highly motivated, the first disillusionment often sets in after a week: you actually don't feel like exercising anymore, and nothing is happening on the scales. This creates frustration and a bad mood. But there is another factor that plays a decisive role in whether we lose weight successfully and in the long term. And this is our dopamine level, as Anne Dufour and Carole Garnier explain in their book "Dopamine Flash".

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, among other things, activates the brain's reward center and is therefore considered a happiness hormone , similar to serotonin Unlike serotonin, dopamine also increases motivation and drive in the long term. In addition, a low dopamine level leads to barely controllable cravings and a particularly high desire for fatty and sweet foods.

It is now known that obesity is directly related to a disturbed dopamine balance: studies suggest, for example, that the hormone is no longer as effective in overweight people because they have fewer receptors to which the messenger substance can dock. In order for the reward center of the brain to be activated just as well by sugary foods as in people of normal weight, the overweight would have to eat significantly more. All of these factors make dopamine the perfect key player in a happy diet that is easier to keep up with.

How does ahappiness diet work?

Basically, the basic idea of ​​the happiness diet is already explained: In order to be able to follow the diet as long and motivated as possible, we should make sure that we have a high dopamine level. The body creates the happiness hormone from amino acids contained in the proteins phenylalanine and tyrosine. So, to make sure we're getting enough dopamine, we should eat plenty of foods that are high in phenylalanine and tyrosine. These include, for example:

  • Green beans
  • Chicken eggs
  • Dried peas
  • peanuts
  • fish
  • flesh
  • gelatin
  • barley
  • Potatoes
  • Cow's milk

How to get slim with the diet

Of course, we don't automatically become slim just because we eat more of the above foods (and maybe do more motivated exercise, even if that certainly plays a role in the result). The authors therefore give a total of 14 tips with which the "dopamine flash" succeeds and the pounds fall off. Here are the most important: 

  • Rely on proteins: Not only do our muscles need proteins - they are also the basic building block of the neurotransmitters that we need for the production of dopamine. So protein-rich foods such as dairy products should be on the menu more often.
  • Reduce carbohydrates: Sugar inhibits dopamine production - so steer clear of sweets. Even classic carbohydrate suppliers such as bread, pasta, rice and Co. should only be eaten a little.
  • Use unprocessed foods: Foods are usually rich in vitamins and minerals only if they have not been industrially processed. Fruit, vegetables, meat and fish should therefore be bought as fresh as possible at the market.
  • Avoid sugary drinks: Soft drinks of any kind are one of the main causes of obesity. It is better to leave it out and drink sugar-free drinks and plenty of water (but now and then it can also be a light fruit spritzer).
  • Exercise regularly: If you move a little every day, you get routine faster - and stay on the ball. According to the authors, 30 to 40 minutes a day should be the minimum.
  • Dare to try something new: new experiences and experiences activate dopamine production. Therefore, for example, take a different route to work more often or go to a concert that you have never been to before.

Conclusion: This is how we find the happiness diet

Basically, the happiness diet relies on a combination of healthy foods and plenty of exercise - therefore it is definitely a weight loss concept that can be carried out over the long term. And incorporating foods with a high phenylalanine and tyrosine content into everyday life shouldn't be difficult for most of them. If the resulting high dopamine level actually provides more motivation for sports and thus sheds the kilos - all the better!

However, the other tips from the authors (no sweets, lots of protein, few carbohydrates, etc.) are really nothing new. Most of the suggestions should be familiar to every woman who has ever dealt with healthy eating. So the focus on dopamine for longer motivation remains the only really interesting aspect of the book. If you don't mind the old tips in a new guise, you can assume that you will lose a few pounds with the happiness diet.