Says nutrition and diet expert Dhvani Shah, “Fatty diets may contribute to higher energy and fat intake, and lower consumption of healthy nutrients. Regular ingestion of foods with high fat content can result in excess body fat deposition and carbon production, causing excessive daytime sleepiness.”
Adds ENT specialist and sleep apnea surgeon, Dr Vikas Agrawal, “The exact mechanisms which causes excessive daytime sleepiness after fatty diets is not known. However, it is postulated that diets high in fat content causes an increase in the secretion of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which, in turn, leads to sleepiness.”
The link between a fatty diet and sleep apnea
“Foods that are rich in fat take about two to three hours to digest. Ingestion of fatty food at frequent intervals leads to malabsorption of fat, thus leading to excess fat deposition in the body,” explains Dhvani. These food items are known to cause an increase in weight. “Both excessive weight and obesity are strong risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea. There is accumulation of fatty tissue around the airway, which leads to its narrowing, thus predisposing to obstructive sleep apnoea,” adds Dr Agrawal.
Foods to stay away from to avoid daytime sleepiness
Diets rich in fat cause sleepiness, whereas those high in carbohydrates promote wakefulness and alertness. So, to avoid sleepiness during the daytime, it is better to follow a diet that has a low fat: carbohydrate ratio. It is best to not consume fried and oily foods, colas and sweets.