We’ve all felt the aftermath of Thanksgiving dinner, Sunday brunch, or even just a heavy meal. Technically called the postprandial somnolence, the food coma, as it is more commonly known as, is that lethargic, sleepy feeling that overcomes you after eating a large meal. Because it is so common, the term “food coma” was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2014.
While most of us associate food comas with eating copious amounts of food, what we eat is likely just as important.
For example, our bodies are good at breaking down simple carbohydrates into sugars that our cells use for energy. These foods include white bread, bagels, and pasta, and have a high glycemic index, which means they quickly increase the amount of sugars in our blood. When we eat a lot of these foods, we do get a boost of energy, but our pancreas takes more time to produce insulin. Insulin helps to carry the sugars out of our blood and into our cells. It also allows a chemical called tryptophan to reach our brains, which causes us to produce another chemical called serotonin, both of which make us sleepy.
Although a big meal may weigh us down, the food coma is most likely attributed to the spike in blood sugar and insulin rush.
So how can we avoid food comas? Start by eating more modest portions or choose foods with a lower glycemic index. Opt for more complex carbohydrates with fiber (whole wheat, fruits, vegetables) and protein rich foods to help stabilize blood sugar levels. Exercise is also a great way to transport excess blood sugar to our muscles.
Avoid a food coma and choose a light and healthy meal from the Brick Market & Deli – Your Neighborhood Deli today! We are located at 105 E. Arrow Hwy (on the northeast corner of Arrow Hwy and Garey Ave) in Pomona. Visit us weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.