What Pleasure Has To Do With Metabolism

By Sara McGlothlin

I’ve been thinking a lot about our Empower Bar baking mix (as I tend to do), and how much I love this product. I also love when I hear how much other people love this product, as it reminds me why I created it. And then I go down the rabbit hole of thinking about why I created it, and the reasons keep coming. One motivating factor that didn’t hit me until later however, is how much satisfaction (gratisfaction?) I get when I know I am making something nutritious, with my hands, to serve the purpose of an energy bar that I baked myself. The concepts of “Vitamin L” and pleasure come into play with this baking mix that you aren’t going to get anywhere else. “Vitamin L” (i.e. “Vitamin Love”) is something I learned when I was getting certified as a holistic health coach. The argument was being made for homemade meals; that when you cook or bake something yourself, a unique sense of love and energy go into the dish that you aren’t going to get when you eat at a restaurant or order to-go. As a result, you better metabolize food with that extra pinch of Vitamin L.

Additionally, research shows that when we make something ourselves, we actually enjoy it more. Why does this matter? Because pleasure is connected to our biochemistry, appetite and metabolism. 

Dopamine is a chemical released in your brain, specifically in your hypothalamus, that is associated with your pleasure response. It is produced when we eat the macronutrients protein and fat and works to aid digestion, decrease appetite, and stimulate pleasure sensations in our cerebral cortex. We might not think that pleasure has anything to do with our metabolism, but it does, both from an emotional perspective and a biochemical one. With a lack of pleasure, your brain releases another chemical called neuropeptide Y. This amino acid neuropeptide is responsible for increasing appetite and tells us to search for food. It is naturally elevated in the morning and whenever we feel deprived of sustenance. Studies have shown that it is also elevated when participants are on a restrictive diet, experiencing low blood sugar, and even in a low mood. When this is the case, neuropeptide Y has us crave carbohydrates.

The major takeaway here is that when you bake your own blood sugar balancing nutrition bars using the Empower Bar baking mix (in Original or Cacao or both!), you are not only doing something that serves you metabolically, but also mentally and emotionally. It taps into biochemical benefits. How Empowering is that??