Feeling tired after you eat is actually very common, and there are a slew of causes as to why this happens.
For one, insulin—a hormone that manages your blood sugar—has a large impact on your energy after you eat. After a meal, your insulin levels go up to ensure your blood sugar levels are where they need to be. When this is over, insulin levels decline, which can cause you to feel tired. It is a normal thing and your tiredness should not last long.
But, if you find yourself feeling very, very tired after eating, you might take into account the following three causes that could be triggering your sleepiness.
When you eat lots of tryptophan-rich foods, especially along with carb-rich foods, you might find you feel tired some hours later.
Tryptophan is usually found in chicken, turkey, bread, milk, chocolate, cheddar cheese, tuna, peanuts, oats, and more. The amino acid helps make the relaxation-causing hormones melatonin and serotonin. Due to this, it is even currently being researched as a solution to sleep disorders, like insomnia.
2. Food intolerances
Food intolerances, or maybe even complete food allergies are usually linked to uncomfortable GI symptoms like diarrhea or cramps. But sometimes, a food intolerance you are not aware of can cause you to feel exhausted.
For example, with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity you might experience tiredness after consuming foods that have gluten because they can trigger an allergic reaction. That can hinder your body’s ability to properly energize itself from your meal, leading to feeling weak and tired.
3. Underlying condition.
If you have ruled out all other possibilities and you are still tired after you eat, it could be time to talk to your doctor to find out if an underlying condition might be triggering your symptoms.
You could feel tired because you have a problem that interferes with nutrients being absorbed in your body, like with anemia. Also, insulin sensitivity, hormonal imbalances, or idiopathic postprandial syndrome (IPS) might be worth researching.
IPS is when you have symptoms of low blood sugar levels after eating, but your blood sugar is fine, Prest says. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include being tired, sweaty, shaky, and having heart palpitations or even light-headedness and panic attacks.
Author: Blake Ambrose