Sleep Deprivation Promotes Carbohydrate Cravings

One of the 7 Core Guiding Principles of Cut the Fat Podcast is that there are “calorie-free” ways to store fat.

In other words, there are direct ways to store fat, i.e. eat high-carb, refined foods, and there are indirect ways to store fat, i.e. do things that cause you to want to eat more high-carb, refined foods through an activation of the “compulsion engine” within the brain…

One such “calorie-free” way to store fat is to sleep less than 7.5 hours per night.

A 2009 study, performed at the University of Chicago confirmed what so many other studies have shown…sleep deprivation causes you to seek out high-calorie, high-carb foods!

In this study, when subjects were only permitted 5.5 hours of sleep a night (compared to 8 hours), they had a tendency to seek out high-carb foods through more snacking!

This confirms research that suggests people who sleep less than 7.5 hours a night may not eat more food during normal meals, but they do have a tendency to snack more often, which results in consumption of significantly more calories in a day.

How to use this information:

  • Give sleep the respect it deserves. We get so caught up in the mentality of accomplishment, we lose site of the fact that we’re walking around like a zombie…that is, a hungry zombie…
  • Get 7.5 hours of sleep each night, you’ll be more energetic, more effective at work, less hungry, and a better worker, husband, wife, sibling, or whatever!
  • You absolutely will not achieve the body of your dreams without optimal sleep! It’s time to accept it.

In future posts, we’ll cover what to do if you have difficulty sleeping or are a full blown insomniac.


Am J Clin Nutr January 2009 vol. 89 no. 1 126-133



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