Select one of the keywords
The Serotonin Power Diet    by Judith J. Wurtman & Nina Frusztajer Marquis order for
Serotonin Power Diet
by Judith J. Wurtman
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another in the spate of diet books that flows into our eager hands each January - The Serotonin Power Diet promises to 'Use Your Body's Natural Chemistry to Cut Cravings, Curb Emotional Overeating, and Lose Weight', essentially to 'Boost Serotonin to Switch Off Your Appetite!' Before writing the book (which includes menu plans and recipes), its authors successfully applied the program in a hospital-based weight-loss clinic. They emphasize the importance of exercise and of weekly coaching in addition to the diet program itself. Most chapters end with Frequently Asked Questions.

The book begins with something that seems counterintuitive, by telling us that 'carbohydrates are as essential for weight loss as gas is to a car', in that they 'control emotional eating and mood' by causing the production of serotonin, 'the switch that turns off your appetite.' The diet comes in three phases: two weeks of eating three high carb snacks in between daily meals; 6 weeks of two high carb daily snacks; and 4 weeks of a single daily snack (the choice of snacks is quite appealing - from biscotti and breakfast cereals to popcorn and pretzels). Before getting into diet details, the authors discuss eating triggers, the importance of understanding them, and mental strategies that can overcome them.

They also explain the importance of different types of exercise while dieting, and how to handle situations (like eating in restaurants or at a wedding reception) that could sabotage a diet regimen. A section on the 12-Week Guide offers tips, supportive Road Signs and Road Assistance and suggests how to avoid Road Blocks. A Troubleshooting chapter looks at reasons why weight loss might not be happening and suggests solutions. And the authors advise how to maintain weight loss, once it's achieved. The remainder of the book covers enticing recipes, like Sushi Rice Salad, Mushroom Burger, or Red Lentil and Cauliflower Curry.

Though I'm not a great believer in diets, this one makes sense to me and looks worth a try. My main reservation is regarding the importance of the weekly coaching that was part of the clinic program - though referring back to certain sections of the book may provide similar benefits. If you made a New Year's resolution on weight loss, then I recommend that you look into The Serotonin Power Diet, as an aid to carrying it out.

Listen to a podcast interview with the author at

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews