The Serotonin Plus Diet is a weight loss program that incorporates three basic parts: an exercise regimen, a calorie-controlled diet and a specially formulated dietary supplement. Designed by an internal medicine specialist, the Serotonin Plus Diet has been heavily researched, and proponents of the diet report average weight losses of 20 to 25 pounds over the 12 week duration of the diet. The American Heart Association reported in a study that weight loss on the Serotonin Plus Diet is greater for the same duration than those recorded for both Atkins and South Beach dieters. However, the program includes a number of factors that could make it difficult for certain dieters to follow.
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According to the site All Business, the Serotonin Plus Diet was developed in 2004 by Dr. Robert Posner, an internal medicine specialist working with patients seeking to lose weight in a number of weight loss centers in Virginia and Maryland. Dr. Posner developed and patented the serotonin supplement used in the Serotonin Plus Diet after researching serotonin's role in depression, migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, as well as appetite and weight loss. Before developing the entire program, Posner funded several large clinical research studies focusing on the safety and effectiveness of the Serotonin Plus supplement; All Business reports that these studies concluded the supplement was linked to weight loss in the participants and caused no health problems.
According to Diet Spotlight, the theory behind the Serotonin Plus Diet is based on the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin in regulating hunger, satiety and cravings for food, particularly carbohydrates. Posner contends that low levels of serotonin increase hunger and appetite, while high levels suppress appetite. Because of this, supplementing with serotonin is believed by proponents to induce weight loss by preventing the brain from detecting decreases in serotonin and stimulating hunger.
The Serotonin Plus Diet program is currently offered only at the main company headquarters in Virginia and at weight loss centers located in Florida, Maryland, Alabama, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Enrolled dieters take part in a detailed 12-week weight loss program that includes a supply of Posner's serotonin supplement, information for developing a daily diet plan and online access to a personal trainer who develops an exercise program for each participant. The main Serotonin Plus Weight Loss Program site reports that all dieters in the plan may meet weekly with medical staff during the course of the 12 weeks and that, if they do not reach their weight loss goal during this length of time, they can attend another 12 week session. According to Diet Spotlight, the serotonin supplement is also available on the company's official website, although the other two parts of the plan--diet and exercise information--are not.
The main advantage of the Serotonin Plus Diet is that the program is considered safe and scientifically well-researched. Participants are monitored by medical staff throughout the course of the 12 week program and, according to the Serotonin Plus Weight Loss site, the plan boasts a 99 percent success rate.
The program is unavailable to dieters who are not near one of the weight loss centers offering the Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss service. The diet is also much more expensive than other types of diets and relies heavily on the dietary serotonin supplements; according to Diet Spotlight, some critics question whether the weight loss seen in participants is truly due to these supplements or to the personalized exercise and nutrition segments of the plan.