Lack of sleep may adversely affect fat metabolism according to a new study

A new study highlights the problems that can lead to a lack of sleep or irregular sleep. The study, this time published in the Journal of Lipid Research, points out that food metabolism can be changed with only a few days of deprivation.

What is changed is above all the way in which fat is metabolized in food, something that can regulate satiety and therefore also weight intake. The link between lack of sleep and metabolism is not new and has already been established by several studies. Orfeu Buxton, Professor at the State University of Pennsylvania and senior author of this study, reports in the press release that other studies have already shown that there are links between higher risks of obesity (and in parallel of all related diseases, including diabetes) and the limitation of sleep in the long term.

However, most of these studies focused mostly on glucose metabolism, which in itself is the basis for diabetes itself. Few or almost none studies have evaluated the connection of sleep itself with the digestion of lipids.

The study began when Kelly Ness was a researcher at the University of Washington. The tests were performed on 15 healthy men in their 20s who spent a week sleeping very much at home. After this first phase, the participants were forced to sleep in the laboratory for 10 days and for five of these for no more than five hours per night.

The same researchers worked hard to keep them awake and to provoke the state of prolonged irregular sleep. After nights of sleep restriction, the researchers offered the participants fat-rich dinners, and the participants themselves showed a greater appreciation of these meals than when they ate the same restful meal.

By analyzing the blood samples, the researcher found that the same restriction of sleep affected the lipid response. In essence, the body found it more difficult to metabolize the fats that more easily accumulated and prepared people to fatten.

It was a study in itself imperfect and still limited in terms of variety of participants but still suggests the importance of sleep for human metabolism.