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The Swedish study is interesting, not least because it totally contradicts my own experience. I am 62 and have been obese for thirty years. In January of this year I decided to improve my diet in hopes of improving my overall energy and activity levels. I cut out sugar, all grains and potatoes and focused on eating meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, some dairy (I love cheese!), berries, nuts and seeds. I read labels and don't eat foods that contain words I can't pronounce or hidden sugars (glucose, corn syrup derivatives). I discovered marksdailyapple (dot) com and the Paleo Diet. In six months I have gained new energy and lost thirty-five lbs and three dress sizes. I am not rigid, enjoying a glass of wine once or twice a month, and celebrating birthdays and special occasions with whatever is on the menu (including cake, ice cream and pie) in moderation. I don't exercise as much as I should but do run after my two toddler grandchildren while babysitting them two or three times a week. I have eliminated my blood pressure medication (BP 120/80), stomach acid medication (Losec), and oral cortisone cream for lichen planus, all of which I'd been taking for over five years. My recent physical showed every blood level to be within normal range. I don't plan to change the way I eat; my primary source of carbohydrates is fruit and cruciferous vegetables, which I eat every day. My skin is clear after fifty years of moderate acne, and my mood stable.
I have suffered from major depression and an anxiety disorder since my teens. Neither seems to have been affected by my change in diet, although overall I am happier with myself. I still take Cymbalta every day and the occasional Ativan. I've not reached my goal weight yet. At 5'6", I'd like to weigh around 140lb; I have another fifty pounds to go. The good feelings about myself that I experience from my successful weight loss far outweigh any putative loss of serotonin in my diet. I congratulate myself daily on my progress. Perhaps my occasional indulgence in carbohydrate-rich foods is keeping my serotonin levels high enough to maintain my mood. Who knows? Everyone's metabolism is different. This diet is working for me when countless others failed.
I truly believe that most of what constitutes the average North American diet is not real food but "food products" (hot dogs, processed cheese, processed meats, sugary cereals, salty snacks, spongy white bread) containing thousands of empty calories. Even the fruit and vegetables that looks so tempting in the supermarket contain less nutrition than their counterparts of fifty years ago. Agribusinesses have bred fruit and veggies to travel well and look "perfect" to the detriment of their nutritive value. I cannot believe that my diet is less healthful in any way than it was before when I consumed pretty much what most middle-class Americans do. My energy level, the mirror, my doctor, and my scales tell me otherwise.
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