Can You Get Mood Swings If You Go on a Protein Diet?
Food intake has a very big influence in our emotions. The idea, smell, feel and taste of food, for example, can often be enough to produce feelings of euphoria, nostalgia, joy and satisfaction. But what happens when certain foods are eliminated, such as when a person is on a diet? Will you get mood swings during protein diets and if so, how can this be corrected?
How protein affects your mood
Protein is an important nutrient. Its sources include meat, fish, chicken, soy and soy products, dairy products and nuts. When ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream, protein stimulates the body to release two important neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine.
These neurotransmitters help the body feel more energetic, awake and alert. This explains why after a good, complete meal, we feel refreshed and active. The lack of sufficient protein in the diet, on the other hand, produces the feeling of drowsiness. This can then lead to feelings of tiredness and irritation.
Conversely, too much protein in the diet can also lead to certain side effects. More protein can encourage the production of hormones that increases the body’s ability to stay awake. People who don’t regulate their protein intake could become restless and find it difficult to fall asleep.
The case against protein diets vs. your mood
So can going through a protein diet bring about mood swings? According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the protein diet and other similar diets that reduce the intake of carbohydrates can lead to a bad mood.
Carbohydrates are known to speed up the production of serotonin, another neurotransmitter. It produces a feeling of relaxation and calm in individuals. It is also a hormone that is responsible for regulating human emotions and thus, is often prescribed to treat depression and mood swings. Without sufficient serotonin, a condition that is common among people who go through protein diets over a prolonged period, it would be difficult for the body to regulate disposition.
Serotonin can also affect the way people feel about food. Once it’s functioning in the brain, it makes the stomach feel full while you’re eating, allowing you to regulate the amount of food you eat. Without serotonin, there is a danger that you could overeat.
If you have a problem with mood swings, it could also be because the lack of serotonin in your protein diet failed to regulate your moods.
The problem with protein diets
People who use the protein diet can often severely restrict the amount of carbohydrates in their diet. If it remains uncorrected for a long time, the body can continue to have a strong appetite for food because the amount of serotonin is not enough to regulate the cravings. This is why people will still feel hungry even after a good meal.
Without serotonin, the appetite cannot shut off and mood swings become inevitable. People who use protein diets to lose or regulate their weight can often experience changes in their moods after food has been digested. This usually occurs late in the afternoon or in the evening, a few hours after dinner.
The mood swing can often be followed by a craving for something starchy or sweet. However, if protein is still taken instead of carbohydrates, the person will continue to experience mood swings, become irritable, restless, lethargic and bad tempered.
When using protein-based diets, it’s important to consider its effects on the body. If symptoms such as mood swings appear, it might be time to determine whether a few alterations in the diet are required. Mood swings may not be that troublesome initially but if they last longer and occur frequently, they could affect your life and work.