Mon, Dec 24, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Junk food cravings linked to lack of sleep, study suggests

The cause could be changes in the activity within and between regions of the brain involved in reward

By Nicola Davis  /  The Guardian

But Peters said that what was driving the changes in activity in the amygdala and hypothalamus was unclear. “We know that changes in other neurotransmitters such as dopamine occur following sleep deprivation, so this might be another candidate,” he said.

Christian Benedict, a neuroscientist at Uppsala University in Sweden who was not involved in the study, welcomed the research. He said when individuals were sleep-deprived, their brains used more energy, so it makes sense that the brain would promote signals that might increase the consumption of food, and not waste energy on controlling impulses.

But he noted that the research had limitations, including that it was small and that blood was not taken when participants were viewing images of food during the scanning task. The study also did not compare the participants’ responses to healthy food.

He said it was important to remember that many factors besides sleep can affect body weight. “It is not only about sleep. Physical activity matters, dietary things, food and accessibility. So we should not break it down only to sleep.”

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