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 are causing fatigue after eating.
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Extreme Tiredness After Eating
Overwhelming tiredness after eating can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. 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 if you have diabetes, 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.
Consider Food Quality
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 sleepy after eating. Foods that do little for you energy levels are typically high in saturated fats, sugar and salt, according to the IBS Treatment Center. 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.
Control Meal Portions
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.
Fatigue from Allergies
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.