Food and Behaviour Research

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Performance and sleepiness during a 24 h wake in constant conditions are affected by diet.

Lowden A, Holmback U, Akerstedt T, Forslund J, Lennernas M, Forslund A. (2004) Biol Psychol.  65(3) 251-63 

Web URL: The abstract in PubMed can be viewed here


This study investigated the effects of high-carbohydrate (HC) and high-fat (HF) diet on cognitive performance, and subjective and objective sleepiness. Seven male participants were kept awake for 24 h in a metabolic ward. Meals were given every 4h and cognitive performance and sleepiness ratings were assessed hourly. The Karolinska Drowsiness Test (KDT, EEG derived) was performed twice after meal. Performance in simple reaction time showed a significant interaction of diet and the post-prandial period, a slower reaction time was observed for the HC-diet 3.5 h after meal intake. Diet did not affect EEG measures but a general post-prandial increase of objective sleepiness was observed 3.5h after meal servings. The HC-diet was significantly associated with an increase of subjective sleepiness. The study demonstrated that the HC-diet caused larger oscillation in performance and increased sleepiness as compared to HF-diet throughout day and night.