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Extreme Fatigue After Meals

author image Dan Harriman
Dan Harriman began writing professionally in 2009 and has a varied background in marketing, ranging from sports management to music promotion. Harriman holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communications from the University of Kansas and earned the International Advertising Association's diploma in marketing communications.
Extreme Fatigue After Meals
A heavy lunch can often result in afternoon fatigue. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Feeling fatigued and sleepy after a meal is not an uncommon reaction. Many people even expect their bodies to, in a sense, shut down after eating. Food should not, however, make you feel fatigued. In fact, you should feel exactly the opposite, as eating the right foods gives you essential nutrition for energy. You might feel extremely fatigued after eating for several reasons. Speak to your doctor if you suspect you have any health problems that cause post-eating fatigue.


Extreme Fatigue After Meals
Checking your insulin levels after a meal is a way to detect diabetes. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Diabetes is a health condition that affects your body's production of insulin, which is needed to control your blood sugar levels. When you eat, your body begins to store sugar in its cells, but as a diabetic, your body does not produce enough insulin to help control how much sugar is being stored. Spikes in blood sugar levels from eating can cause you to feel fatigued and lethargic, due to excess sugar in your bloodstream and cells. When enough insulin is once again produced to regulate your blood sugar levels, the glucose can be burned off as energy, thereby making you feel less fatigued.

Food Quality

Extreme Fatigue After Meals
Food that is rich in nutrients will give you more energy. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

The types of foods you eat play an important role in how your body reacts when it breaks down and absorbs the food. If you primarily eat food that offers little nutritional value, you will most likely begin to feel fatigued. Foods that do little for you energy levels are typically high in saturated fats, sugar and salt. Most processed foods fall into this category. Your body breaks down and absorbs these foods quickly, causing your digestive system to work hard for a short period. This leads to fatigue. Foods providing good nutritional value take longer for your body to break down and absorb, thereby giving you energy for more extended periods.

Meal Portions

Extreme Fatigue After Meals
Controlling portion sizes can change how you feel after eating. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The quantity of food you eat is another major factor in how you feel after a meal. If you eat healthy meals, large or small, your body will have energy. If, however, you eat large meals that consist of unhealthy foods, you will most likely feel like taking a nap afterwards. If you do have unhealthy foods as a part of your diet, try to reduce the portion size of your meals, and eat four or five smaller meals per day instead of three large meals per day. This allows your body to digest a manageable amount of food, every so often, throughout the day.


Extreme Fatigue After Meals
Speak to your doctor if you suspect you have a food allergy. Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Certain ingredients in foods can cause an allergic reaction, which can result in you feeling exhausted and fatigued once your body absorbs them .Your body must expend energy to rid itself of an allergen that has been introduced through food you eat. Fatigue sets in as your immune system works to protect the body. Speak to your doctor if you suspect you may have a food allergy. She can help determine if you are in fact allergic to certain foods and whether it is causing fatigue after eating.

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