Monday, May 26, 2008
America is Carbohydrate Central. Every meal comes loaded with bread, fries, chips, pasta and more bread. On landing after the seven-week jaunt, therefore, I felt bloated and decided to go on a personalised version of the Atkins Diet - basically no carbs whatsoever. ((Curiously I discovered yesterday that Michael Portillo has been on a personalised Atkins, but this was in the Observer so the feature failed to give me the one necessary fact - how much weight he'd lost.) You may discover the very intellectually respectable reason for my sudden low-carb enthusiasm in The Sunday Times Magazine this week.)) For the next three days I felt increasingly dreadful, a condition I assumed was due to jet lag and re-entry issues. This morning I woke up feeling as though I had flu and, stricken with depression, I was convinced that the world thing was not worth the effort, which was a problem as I had to go out and work. I stared in revulsion at the mounds of protein in the fridge. Finally, I cheated and ate a peach - verboten at this stage of the diet. The effect was almost instanteous. I was suddenly alert, alive, happy and bustling about full of ideas. I subsequently discovered this effect may have something to do with insulin, tryptophan and serotonin. The change in my mental and physical condition was staggering. This was welcome of course, but also vaguely troubling. I was a different person post-peach; a few molecules of fructose had changed my personality. Like all right thinking people, I despise the sneery, triumphalist drive of the scientists to prove we are 'only' brain chemistry, but sometimes one can't help feeling they may have a point. Or perhaps God is in peaches and absent from protein.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 3:41 pm