Lack of antioxidants increases obesity risk in sleep-deprived men: Korean study

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Higher antioxidant intake could lower the chances of obesity induced by sleep deprivation. ©iStock
Higher antioxidant intake could lower the chances of obesity induced by sleep deprivation. ©iStock

Related tags: Nutrition

Low dietary antioxidant intake — coupled with insufficient sleep — could lead to an increased risk of obesity in men, a Korean study has found.

The study, by Ewha Women’s University, assessed 3,941 Korean men between 40 and 69 years old who had participated in the community-based cohort Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES).

It found that those with a "low consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins" ​and insufficient daily sleep faced a higher obesity risk than those who with a high consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins.

Furthermore, those who had less than six hours of sleep a day had significantly higher BMI, body fat mass and percentage, waist circumference, and risk of obesity, compared to those who slept at least seven hours a day.

Optimal sleep, lower obesity risk

However, regardless of dietary antioxidant intake, obesity risk was not increased for those who had optimal sleep duration, i.e., seven or more hours daily.

One possible reason for this was that insufficient sleep might result in an increase in appetite, subjective hunger, and food consumption due to an elevated level of ghrelin, an appetite stimulant.

This, alongside a decreased level of leptin — a satiety signal related to “increases in obesity-related variables and the risk of obesity” ​— often leads to excessive consumption of unhealthy foods low in antioxidants.

Short sleepers need more antioxidants

The study noted that “a combined effect of the consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A, retinol, carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, on sleep duration was observed with respect to the odds of being obese”​.

In conclusion, the study stated that increasing antioxidant intake could offset the higher chances of becoming obese caused by a lack of sleep.

Source: Nutrients

“The Consumption of Dietary Antioxidant Vitamins Modifies the Risk of Obesity among Korean Men with Short Sleep Duration”

Authors: Miae Doo, Yangha Kim

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