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Why you shouldn’t eat carbs for lunch on a workday

Here's how to stop the afternoon slumps. Source: Getty

Feeling drowsy in the afternoon isn’t in your head. 

In fact, many people notice a dip in their alertness, energy levels and concentration in the afternoon. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, 29 per cent of Australians report making errors at work due to sleepiness and now, researchers from the Flinders University have found a strong link between nutrition and sleep – and therefore productivity. 

“It’s this consistency from the lab showing excessive saturated fats and carbohydrates cause excessive daytime sleepiness and could be a risk factor with workplace injury,” Flinders University researcher Yohannes Melaku said.

Melaku looked at the effect of changing nutrients in a person’s diet without changing the amount of calories consumed by them and found drowsiness was occurring when participants’ carbohydrate and saturated fat intake was high, and their protein intake low. 

“Cutting excessive saturated fats and carbohydrates and increasing protein could be a good solution for daytime sleepiness,” he said.

“Currently we are collecting data about the timing of eating food. We know it’s not only the quality of food but timing of food is very important, so we are tracing that.”

The Sleep Foundation found eating carb-loaded foods like white breads, white rice, regular pastas, or chips can make you feel sleepy.

“This is because simple carbs (aka not ones made from whole grains) cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, followed by a dramatic drop that can leave you feeling tired and cranky,” the Foundation stated.

Instead, workers can replace simple carbs with complex carbs like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole wheat crackers.

Another way to fight fatigue and increase productivity is to stand up and stretch, or try and walk around at least once every hour.

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