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Is Your Sleep, Or Lack Thereof, Causing You to Gain Weight?

Posted Oct 22 2008 7:04am

The October issue of The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, found thatthose who suffer from sleep apnea consume a more unhealthy diet which can contribute to an even greater cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and this was most evident among women.

MedPage TodayExecutive Editor Peggy Peck, had this to say about the sleep apnea studies:

The study found that a fat-and-cholesterol-laden diet may worsen disordered breathing—loud snoring, brief pauses in breathing, gasping, and snorting—in women who have severe obstructive sleep apnea.

The women who had the most severe sleep apnea regularly consumed a 22 grams more of protein, and 28 grams more of fat, which included more than nine grams of saturated fat, than women who had nighttime disordered breathing.

Importantly, the women who consumed high levels of protein and fat, were more likely to be obese, which is an important consideration because obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea.  It’s important to understand that the study reported an association between diet and severe symptoms of sleep apnea—it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Nonetheless, a number of studies have linked obesity with sleep apnea, and it is not unreasonable to infer a relationship between high consumption of calories—especially fat and protein—might be a major contributor to obesity.

So, the implication or take home is the same refrain that we hear over and over—mainly because it is good advice—a well-balanced diet and daily exercise are essential components of a healthy life and the best way to avoid weight gain.

Among the best advice in this area are the recommendations of the American Heart Association:  ”balance caloric intake and physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight; consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits; choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods; consume fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week; limit intake of saturated fat to <7% of energy, trans fat to <1% of energy, and cholesterol to <300 mg/day by choosing lean meats and vegetable alternatives, fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% fat) dairy products and minimize intake of partially hydrogenated fats.”

I do have to say that I do eat higher amounts of protein and fats, BUT, they are healthy fats and proteins, such as fish oil and flax oil, organic peanut better and nuts and lean beef and turkey. How about you? Are you at risk of obesity due to sleep apnea?

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