After a hearty holiday meal, many of us feel the sudden urge to sleep. But where does this heavy phenomenon come from? Dr Arnaud Cocaul, nutritionist, answers us.
Holiday meals are moments of reunion and delicacies that punctuate our end of years. But behind the turkeys and the frozen logs, we are all affected by a post-meal phenomenon: a feeling of intense sleepiness that falls on us and makes us want to return to the sofa, undoubtedly accentuated by the past week of preparations. But why do we know this “food coma” effect, scientifically called postprandial drowsiness. Is it because of our excesses?
A reaction to too rich food
For nutritionist Arnaud Cocaul, member of our committee of experts, the answer lies largely in foods that are too rich. “We generally eat more fat during holiday meals. But the more fat we eat, the more it increases gastric emptying and the more our digestion slows down. It is this slowing down of emptying which causes drowsiness. he explains.
Along the same lines, Dr. Rich Joseph, attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, explained to HuffPost in an article from November 23 “The larger the meal, the more blood is directed to the intestine to facilitate digestion. The brain receives less blood, making it appear more sleepy.”
The accumulation of alcohol, sugar and fat does not help anything
Of course, it’s not just fat that weighs on your stomach (and mental clarity). Other contributions make digestion all the more difficult, Dr. Cocaul hears: “The absorption of alcohol will also be treacherous, because it is a toxic substance that the body cannot keep. The action of the liver will therefore turn towards the elimination of ethanol as a priority. In this case, the more alcohol you drink, the more you will store the rest of the fatty and sugary foods you consume.
Not to mention the cheese platter which will also play its role.it is also a difficult food to metabolize, which requires additional effort from the body and therefore requires more energy. adds our expert. Your body is thus subjected to a severe test.
How to avoid the crash?
It’s hard to ignore festive foods when Christmas approaches, especially when they are a tradition. However, it is still possible to avoid excessive fatigue by making a few judicious choices: therefore, it is better not to drink too much alcohol, and not to combine dishes that are too rich on the entire menu.
“If you eat raclette, it’s better not to finish with tiramisu” advises our expert. If you opt for a rich and delicious dish, for dessert, instead set your sights on an exotic fruit salad for example, which is much more digestible.