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Q&A: Drowsiness after eating?

Consumer Reports News: May 21, 2010 06:08 AM

I get extremely tired after eating. Could that signal something dangerous? —H.C., by e-mail

Probably not. It’s more likely that the drowsiness comes from eating foods or meals that are high in calories, high in simple carbohydrates such as sugar, or both. Ingesting a lot of calories causes the body to slow down multiple systems, including the brain, to divert extra blood to the digestive system. The shift in resources can leave you feeling lethargic.

And in some people, notably those with prediabetes, eating a large amount of sugar causes blood glucose levels to spike and subsequently crash, causing fatigue. In those cases, eating smaller and more frequent meals, limiting sugar intake, or both should help you feel more energized. If the changes don’t help, you might ask your doctor whether a health issue might be the culprit—particularly diabetes, a food allergy, or a thyroid disorder.

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