Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
May/June 2003 Volume 13, Number 3
©2002 Gürze Books
A carbohydrate-rich beverage may help counteract the obesity that may accompany long-term use of psychotropic agents. Since serotonin increases satiety and regulates mood, Kristen M. Miller and colleagues at McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, tested the effects of a food supplement believed to increase brain serotonin synthesis. The study group included 98 women (average body mass index, or BMI: 36) and 21 men (average BMI: 41) who were unable to control their food intake because of emotional stress or drug treatment. Thirty-eight women and 8 men were being treated with one or more psychotropic agents. All patients were given a 1400-kcal/day (women) or 1800-kcal/day (men) food plan for 12 weeks, which included 2 carbohydrate-rich drinks to be consumed before lunch and dinner. These drinks had been shown to increase the “plasma tryptophan ratio,” raising brain tryptophan levels and thus stimulating serotonin synthesis. The patients also had intensive counseling, nutrition education and exercise sessions (5, 3, or <2 times/week). At the end of the 12 weeks, drug-treated and non-drug-treated groups lost similar amounts of weight (mean: 20 lb and 18 lb, respectively).