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Lack of Sleep May Lead to Junk-Food Bingeing

Young men in small study ate more when sleep-deprived

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

TUESDAY, Feb. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of sleep can lead you to eat larger portions of high-calorie foods and increase your long-term risk of weight gain, according to a small new study.

Swedish researchers asked 16 normal-weight males to choose their ideal portions of high-calorie meals and snacks. They did this when they had a normal night of about eight hours sleep and again when they went a night without sleep.

The participants chose larger portion sizes after the night with no sleep. They did this both before and after a breakfast, which suggests that sleep deprivation increases food intake regardless of whether a person feels full, said study author Pleunie Hogenkamp, of Uppsala University.

"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," Hogenkamp said in a university news release.

The study was published online Feb. 18 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

In a previous 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.

Although the study found an association between lack of sleep and increased appetite for high-calorie foods, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how to prevent weight gain.

SOURCE: Uppsala University, news release, Feb. 20, 2013

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