Lack of Sleep Affects Portion Size and Food Choices in Young Men

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Don’t get enough sleep? According to a small, new study, this may make you eat larger portions of high-calorie foods and, accordingly, increase your risk of gaining weight.

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden asked 16 normal-weight men, average age 23,  to choose their ideal portions of high-calorie meals and snacks. The men made their choices both after a normal night of about eight hours sleep and after a night without sleep.

After the sleepless night, participants chose larger portion sizes both before and after having had breakfast. This suggests that sleep deprivation increases food intake regardless of whether a person feels full, said the study’s author.

In an earlier study, the same team of researchers found that young, normal-weight men who went a single night without sleep had increased activation of a brain region involved in the desire to eat. However, neither study showed a direct cause-and-effect relationship. The takeaway: A good night’s sleep is helpful in many ways and may lead to making better food choices. 

Source:  Psychoneuroendocrinology, February 18, 2013.

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