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Sleep deprivation raises food cravings study

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Thursday 21st February 2013

A lack of sleep not only increases the body’s cravings for high carbohydrate foods during the day, but also results in greater portions and continued hunger after eating, according to the results of a new study in Sweden. The investigation, carried out at Uppsala University, adds further credibility to the link between poor quality sleep and obesity.

The study involved sixteen male participants of ‘normal’ weight, and assessed their preferred portion sizes at a breakfast buffet when they were well-rested with around eight hours sleep, then again when they were deprived of sleep for an entire night.

"After a night of total sleep loss, these males chose greater portion sizes of the energy-dense foods,” said lead author Pleunie Hogenkamp. “Interestingly, they did so both before and after a breakfast, suggesting that sleep deprivation enhances food intake regardless of satiety. Bearing in mind that insufficient sleep is a growing problem in modern society, our results may explain why poor sleep habits can affect people's risk to gain weight in the long run."

The results were published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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