The food you eat may affect your level of sleepiness or alertness during the
day, according to a new, small study.
Researchers assessed the daytime sleepiness/alertness levels of 31 healthy,
non-obese people, aged 18 to 65, who were normal sleepers. Then they looked at
the meals they ate.
Higher fat consumption was associated with increased daytime sleepiness while
higher carbohydrate intake was linked with increased alertness. There was no
relationship between protein consumption and sleepiness or alertness.
The findings were independent of the participants' age, gender, body-mass
index, total amount of sleep and total intake of kilojoules, according to the
study, scheduled for presentation at the Associated Professional Sleep
Societies annual meeting in Baltimore.
Diet and sleepiness
"Increased fat consumption has an acute adverse effect on alertness of
otherwise healthy, non-obese adults," principal investigator Dr Alexandros
Vgontzas, a professor of psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, said
in an American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.
The findings add to previous research linking diet and sleepiness.
"Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue are very prevalent in the modern
world and on the rise," Vgontzas said. "It appears that a diet high in fat
decreases alertness acutely, and this may have an impact on an individual's
ability to function and also public safety."
High-fat diets are also associated with increased risk for certain cancers
and heart disease.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
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