Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet ~ My low-carb, stay-happy way to lose weight

By Debbie RogersIs this a Diet Book? This isn’t a diet book, you won’t find a long list of ‘dos and don’ts, you won’t find daily meal plans, or any sections on weighing and recording your results etc. Instead, it’s more of a cookbook where Tom shares the recipes that he cooks that allow him to follow his new high dopamine lifestyle. And having met Tom and seen his progress you can tell that it has worked for him.

Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet ~ My low-carb stay-happy way to lose weightTom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet ~ My low-carb, stay-happy way to lose weight

Late last year, Ishita and I met Chef Tom Kerridge at Marina Social. He was here for a few days working with Jason Atherton and Tristin Farmer for a pop up dinner menu which was hugely popular and a complete sell- out.

Back in the UK I was an avid fan of Tom, his TV series was hugely aspirational. He was always cooking large portions of hearty food, sharing it with friends and family and I remember it having a big impact on me. I wanted to be him, to cook like him and have his social life and to be honest it all looked so darn good! Back in those days, Tom was a big guy, not just in height but also in girth. Since then Tom has lost eleven stones (70 kgs) over the last three years and in his book, he shares his journey, recipes and his inspirations. The main thing that struck me is that Tom says he wanted to eat delicious food and that this was key to his diet. Let’s be honest, if you are a foodie who wants, or needs to lose some extra pounds, then it makes perfect sense that you follow a plan that tastes delicious and gives you results. The turning point for Tom was his age, he was approaching 40 and this major milestone inspired him to take the leap and make big changes.

He started his plan by taking a critical look at himself. His large size, close to almost thirty stones (190 kgs) meant that he needed to take some drastic action. He started by looking at what was making him fat, and working out a plan to cut those out. Tom spent a lot of time researching different types of dieting and working out what would work for him and what would not and in doing so he started to gure out what could and would work for him as a long-term change of life. ‘Taste’ was a key factor, and he worked out that he needed to have food that tastes good, so a new diet plan had to allow some butter and olive oil. He also looked at the link between eating carbohydrates and insulin production and how high carb diets can lead to fat accumulation. Critically, for me, he also looked at the menu of his restaurant, The Hand and Flowers and started analysing what he would be able to eat from the menu if he followed a low carb approach to eating. From here he started to see how he could eat some of the things he loved and could make some food swops to reduce carbs further, eg remove the chips from steak and chips and replace with low carb veggies.

Debbie: You don’t have to follow Tom’s plan to enjoy the recipes, but you just might want to check it out if you are looking to make a few changes to the way that you eat and to how you feel.

Image courtesy:

Is this a Diet Book?

This isn’t a diet book, you won’t find a long list of ‘dos and don’ts, you won’t find daily meal plans, or any sections on weighing and recording your results etc. Instead it’s more of a cookbook where Tom shares the recipes that he cooks to allow him to follow his new high dopamine lifestyle. And having met Tom and seen his progress you can tell that it has worked for him.


The book starts with an introduction about how and why Tom changed his diet and the rationale behind it. It’s not technical or prescriptive at all. Instead, it’s an honest introduction on how a very large person who loved their food decided to make a signi cant change and how they made that change work for them. From that perspective, I find it hugely inspirational.

In The Kitchen

The recipe section of the book is broken down into sensible categories making it easy to cook from. The categories are based on the type of dish rather than categorising Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner etc, and this reflects the way in which he typically eats now. Instead you will find sections on Soups and Broths, Hot & Cold Salads, Omelettes & Pancakes, Minced Meat Dishes, Braises & Strews, Pan- frying & Roasts, Sweet Things & Baking

In the main the recipes look great and come with carb count information. For me, there’s enough variety to suit casual dining from family sharing dishes – Shepherd’s
Pie with Cauliflower topping – through to something a bit more substantial and suitable for casual entertaining, which takes me back to his TV show days when I first had a glimpse of his life. For dessert lovers there are also eight dessert dishes (using sugar substitutes) and a couple of low carb breads.


Dopamine is a chemical which signals to the brain’s reward hub. From a food perspective dopamine is created when we the amino acid tyrosine is broken down and used by the body. The dopamine hero’s are:

• Dairy, Eggs, Oily Fish and Seafood, Fruit, Well Sourced Meat (think free range, grass fed), Nuts, Vegetables, Spices and Chillies.

• Add to this a healthy dose of 70 per cent dark chocolate for sugar cravings, and you just about have Tom’s diet


Finally, on top of all the food changes, Tom took up a form of exercise that he loved, swimming, and he encourages everyone to find something they “don’t hate and do it every day if you can”.

Yes to Coffee!

As a final thought, Tom loved Coffee whilst it is claimed that it can lead to reduced dopamine levels he has continued his love of coffee throughout – news to my ears!

Sorbet masterclass with Chef Tom Kerridge, Jason Atherton, Tristin Farmer in Marina Social

From our archives…

We had the pleasure of doing a blind tasting of 13 flavors of sorbet while chit chatting with none other than Tom Kerridge, Jason Atherton and Tristin Farmer at the Marina Social, courtesy BBC Good Food Middle East. It was a fun afternoon with Simon Rimmer from The Scene causally joining in!

NB : There are quite a few pork dishes, so this might not be suitable for everyone. Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet is available in Amazon and is priced from $16.

[Above Images: Ishita B Saha]

Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge’s popular work as cookbook author and TV host include: Great British Food Revival, Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food, Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, hosting Saturday Kitchen, hosting Spring Kitchen, and also the front of BBC’s Food and Drink. More recently the chef on BBC2’s Food Detectives, and the lead presenter in Bake Off: Crème de la Crème.

To know more on Tom Kerridge, his works, restaurants and his cookbooks, visit


Latest posts from Dubai Dining

Other posts from the Author

More posts on Cookbook Reviews

No Replies to "Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet ~ My low-carb, stay-happy way to lose weight"

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Share this post
    Hide Buttons