I don’t really have problems much with food cravings, not after two years of eating a low-glycemic diet & being sure I don’t skip breakfast. And I haven’t had a big sweet tooth for even longer than that. Nor have I ever been an insomniac. But I still sometimes slide into the pit, & while I know how to get out of it, it’d be nice to avoid it altogether. So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been supplementing with 5-HTP, & have noticed that I do feel a slight elevation of mood even from what my normal “good mood” feels like.
Not so much related to depression, but still related to food cravings: I also learned some interesting stuff recently through a book called Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control by Michael T. Murray, N.D. and Michael R. Lyon, M.D. about some relevant scientific findings about the relationship between food cravings & what they call blood sugar (glycemic) volatility. In essence, through studies using some new types of glucometers that permit researchers to monitor an individual’s blood glucose readings 24/7, they’ve learned that inappropriate hunger pangs come on most frequently when there is a rapid fall in blood glucose. So for example: you eat a large meal that includes a lot of high-GI carbs, which causes your blood sugar to spike fast. That’s followed by a large influx of insulin from your pancreas to deal with the sugars, which leads then to a fairly rapid lowering of your blood sugar. If you’re insulin resistant, especially, this lowering might be really rapid, & you may experience symptoms of hypoglycemia (sweatiness, shakiness, etc.) even if you your blood sugar doesn’t go down to hypoglycemic levels (defined as <= 70 mg/dL blood glucose). And you may then have hunger pangs, even if that meal you just ate was high in calories.
This adds to the reasoning behind low-glycemic eating being a reaaaaaaaally good idea for people who are insulin resistant. You want to reduce your blood sugar volatility as much as possible, & low GI is a way to do that. Besides its other bad effects, high blood sugar volatility leads to hunger pangs & overeating. It’s especially helpful to eat low GI diets that are high in fiber (lets hear it for nonstarchy high fiber veggies all over again! & many wonderful fruits as well), because fiber will fill up your stomach so you feel full for longer, & it also slows stomach emptying, which both promotes a long-lasting sense of satiety and slows the rate at which carbohydrates in your meal are transformed & transported into blood glucose in your blood.
I firmly believe that it is completely unnecessary for anyone to feel hungry simply because they are working do reduce the amount of fat on their bodies. It is possible to burn off fat & feel happily satiated doing it. I know it is, because I’m doing it myself.
(I am gonna try to find some of the actual studies these guys cite that show the relationship between blood glucose volatility & hunger pangs vs. satiety. Hugely relevant to me.)