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Study under review: Higher-protein diets improve indexes of sleep in energy-restricted overweight and obese adults: results from 2 randomized controlled trials
When you think about the interaction between sleep and diet, it’s probably in the context of the effects that sleep has on dietary choices, glucose control, or energy balance. Less appreciated is the fact that it may also go the other way around, with diet (and macronutrient choices) affecting sleep quality.
The effect that dietary patterns, particularly protein intake, have on sleep has not been well-studied, but limited research suggests there may be a connection. Observational studies have shown that higher protein intake is associated with an earlier mid-point of sleep (an indicator of human chronotype - the tendency for an individual to sleep during a certain time of the day), and adults who consumed a moderate protein intake (more than 11.9% daily energy) were more likely to have better sleep-wake regularity than those consuming a low protein intake (less than 10.8% daily energy intake). However not all studies suggest a positive relationship between increased protein and improved sleep. A small number of interventional studies have evaluated the effects of protein intake on sleep parameters, but they have often used shorter-duration and/or non-practical scenarios.
While there is an emerging body of research connecting sleep with a wide range of health markers, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found an insufficient body of evidence for associations between sleep patterns, dietary intakes, and obesity risk. Because of the limited research available, particularly looking at the effects of protein on sleep over extended time periods, the purpose of this new study was to examine the effects of various types and amounts of protein intake during weight loss in middle-aged adults who were overweight or obese.
It is possible that manipulating protein intakes while dieting could be beneficial for sleep quality, due in part to an increased amino acid availability, which can lead to an increased synthesis of brain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin.
There is a growing appreciation for the importance of sleep and the effects it has on food choices, weight gain, and metabolic health. However, the effects of dietary choices such as protein intake on sleep are not as well-studied or understood. This study examines the effects of protein intake during weight loss on sleep quality in adults who are overweight.
Other Articles in Issue #17 (March 2016)
Kneed relief? Try collagen
Glucosamine has gotten the bulk of public attention concerning joint health, and most of the studies, but small amounts of undenatured collagen may be as or more effective for arthritis symptoms.
Chromium has long been viewed as a potential anti-diabetic supplement. But the form of chromium in supplements may not always be the final form your cells get. This study looked at a potential connection to cancer, through testing extremely high dose chromium exposure.
Fish oil and football: an unlikely pair
Head trauma from football, and its delayed (and catastrophic) health effects, are a major issue in sports today. What if something as simple as fish oil supplementation could help with this
- Interview: Marie Spano, MS, RD
Creatine, depression, and brain energetics
The human brain is a powerhouse, consuming tons of fuel to keep all those intricate neural connections going. Brain energetics may play a role in major depression, which makes creatine a potential adjunct to antidepressants and therapy.
The taurine-blood pressure connection
With well over half of Americans having either hypertension or prehypertension, effective supplements are a highly researched area. The amino-acid like compound taurine may be a safe and easy-to-obtain treatment option.
Is organic meat healthier?
Part of the allure of organic food is the potential for improved nutrition. But studies in the past have tended to focus on organic plant foods. This broadranging meta-analysis of 67 studies puts organic meat to the test
- Interview: Matt Smith MD
Vitamin D for MDD
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a condition without many effective treatments, or at least treatments lacking side effects. Vitamin D has been linked to improved mood, and this trial tested it specifically for MDD