Sleep & Junk Food
June 25, 2012
A lack of sleep makes the brain crave junk food.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Junkfood on the mind…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
People who are chronically sleep-deprived tend to be more obese than those who get plenty of shut-eye. Now, a new study reveals one reason why. Columbia University obesity researcher Marie Pierre St. Onge and her colleagues had people of normal weight view pictures of both junk food and healthful food while sleep-deprived. They found that looking at candy and cheeseburgers triggered the brain’s reward centers more so than foods like veggies and salmon.
MARIE-PIERRE ST. ONGE (Columbia University):
When people are sleep-restricted, unhealthy foods provide greater reward sensation than healthy foods. 4
She says junkfood’s effect on the brain disappeared when the volunteers were well-rested. This backs up earlier research showing that restricted sleep results in a higher intake of fat, salt, and sugar.
Being in a sleep-deprived state may not be so good for the waistline.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.