(NaturalNews) A new study out of Columbia University says that sleep deprivation can cause a person to eat roughly 300 more calories a day than normal, which can ultimately lead to weight gain and obesity. Reported at the recent American Heart Association conference in Atlanta, Ga., the study provides insight into what could be a substantial contributor to the obesity epidemic -- inadequate rest.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition medicine at Columbia, and her colleagues evaluated 26 normal-weight men and women who normally all adhered to healthy sleeping schedules of between seven and nine hours of rest a night. On two separate evaluations for the study, however, half the group was instructed to sleep four hours a night for six nights, and the other half was instructed to sleep nine hours a night for six nights.
For the first few days, both groups were assigned strict, portion-controlled meals, but on the last two days, participants were allowed to eat whatever they wanted. Upon conclusion, researchers noted that participants consumed roughly 300 extra calories per day when they were sleep-deprived compared to when they got adequate rest. And sleep-deprived women consumed an average of 66 extra calories a day than sleep-deprived men did.
More significant that pure calorie intake is the fact that sleep-deprived participants mostly consumed junk and fast foods as their added intake. Such foods are typically loaded with obesity-inducing trans fats, refined sugars, and genetically-modified organisms (GMO).
"Ice cream stood out as the preferred food during the sleep-deprived state," said St-Onge. "Sleep deprivation makes you more susceptible to overeating, so that can be something to consider when you're trying to lose weight."
Getting adequate rest also regulates levels of ghrelin and leptin, two hormones that signal to the body when it is time to eat, and when it is time to not eat. Previous research has found that sleep deprivation can alter these hormone levels, causing excess food consumption (http://www.naturalnews.com/025882_obesity_sl...).