The science is in: processed food is addictive, can make you extremely unhappy, promoting depression and may even prematurely kill you.
Face-to-Face Interaction Has Neurochemical Effects
“The Hacking of the American Mind” by Dr. Robert Lustig explores how food companies and government policy deceived the public and turned food into a weapon of self-destruction.
Lustig, well known for his brilliant research, is an emeritus professor of paediatrics in the division of endocrinology, at the University of California.
People can make you happy
Many try to bolster their happiness through certain food choices, but this actually does not work, and Lustig provides compelling arguments that the foods you crave drive up dopamine and drive down serotonin.
Rather, it is experiences that make you happy.
People can make you happy. You can make yourself happy.
“Ultimately, the goal is [to increase] your serotonin,” he says. There are four ways to boost your serotonin, and they’re all free. They’re also things your grandmother likely told you to do.
First and foremost is making human connections.
Turns out that Facebook does not count as connection. When we’re talking about interpersonal connection, we’re talking about eye-to-eye,” Lustig says.
“The facial emotions of the person you’re talking with activate a set of neurons in your brain called ‘mirror neurons,’ which are the drivers of empathy and specifically linked to serotonin to be able to generate a feeling of empathy, which ultimately turns into contentment/happiness, you actually have to connect. You can’t do it over the internet. You can’t have a connection with ‘anonymous.’ It just doesn’t work.”
Dopamine Versus Serotonin
It’s important to realize that the dopamine (or reward-generating) pathway is the same no matter what the source of your pleasure.
It can be a substance, such as nicotine, alcohol, heroin or junk food; or it can be behavior, such as Internet surfing, shopping or pornography.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and in excess, is neurotoxic.
THE 4 C’s …four ways to boost your serotonin
- CONTRIBUTE: Meaning the act of contributing to something greater than yourself; making a contribution to society.
- CONNECT: Looking into the eyes of others as you communicate calmly, leads to meaningful connection.
- COPE: Avoiding exposure to electronic screens is important for stress reducing sleep, underpinning coping mechanisms.
- COOK: If you cook, you’re likely to increase your tryptophan, reduce your refined sugar intake, and increase your omega-3 fats (anti-inflammatory) and fibre.
Check the article: Hacking Of The American Mind and what you can do about it.