How food af­fects your mood

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

IF YOU are about to en­ter a dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­a­tion you might want to eat an ex­tra slice of toast for break­fast.

Re­searchers found those who have eaten plenty of bread, ce­real or other car­bo­hy­drates are less likely to ac­cept a bad deal – and would rather walk away – than those who eat break­fasts lower in carbs and higher in pro­tein.

In an at­tempt to ex­plain why food can af­fect our mood, re­searchers mea­sured chem­i­cals in the blood of par­tic­i­pants who ate low-carb and high-carb break­fasts.

They found those who had eaten more carbs at the be­gin­ning of the day had higher lev­els of dopamine, the brain’s “re­ward” chem­i­cal that can pro­duce feel­ings of hap­pi­ness. This may al­low them to walk away from a bad deal be­cause they are con­fi­dent they will be re­warded at a later time.

By con­trast, low lev­els of dopamine may mean they would feel a need to take any­thing they can get straight away – even if there was the pos­si­bil­ity of a bet­ter of­fer in fu­ture.

The re­searchers from Lue­beck Univer­sity in Ger­many, fed par­tic­i­pants con­trolled break­fasts – one with 80% car­bo­hy­drates, 10% pro­tein and 10% fat; and the other with 50% carbs, 25% pro­tein and 25% fat. Both break­fasts amounted to 850 calo­ries.

In the con­trolled ex­per­i­ment, 69% of those on the high-carb diet re­jected the bad deal, com­pared with 60% on the low-carb diet.

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