Can a high-fat diet make you tired at work? Study says ‘yes’

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Adelaide, South Australia – Eating fatty foods can lead to daytime sleepiness as well as sleep problems at night, according to a study from the University of Adelaide.

As part of the study, more than 1,800 Australian men ages 35 to 80 reported their eating habits during a one-year period. Researchers adjusted for lifestyle, demographic factors and chronic diseases. They found that men who consumed the highest amount of fat were more likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness. A high-fat diet also was linked to sleep apnea.

Among the men surveyed, 47 percent said they slept poorly at night and 41 percent reported feeling tired during the day. In addition, about 54 percent experienced mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, and one-quarter had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea. The men were not previously diagnosed with the condition.

“This has significant implications for alertness and concentration, which would be of particular concern to workers,” Yingting Cao, study author and University of Adelaide doctoral student, said in a press release. “The simple message is a commonsense one, but we need more people to pay attention to it: We need to eat better; a good sleep the night before is best.”

The study was published April 8 in the journal Nutrients.

The results are similar to a study conducted by Columbia University researchers that found diets high in saturated fat and sugar – and low in fiber – may lead to lighter, more disrupted sleep.

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