We all know our diets have a significant correlation with our waistline. Simply consume a highly refined diet high in carbohydrates and you’ve drastically increased your risk of obesity.

The Mediterranean diet has been referred to favourably by many health professionals as the ideal diet to maintain optimal health and reduce the risk of obesity-related variables. High in dietary antioxidants such as β-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as vital minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, the Mediterranean diet is nutrient rich.

We also know, achieving sufficient sleep duration is one of the keys to a maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is inversely related to the development of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

Now a recent study published in Nutrients 2017 assesses the relationship between an antioxidant rich diet, sleep duration and the risks of obesity.

The relationship of sleep, dietary antioxidants and obesity

The Korean study aimed to examine how the effect of sleep on the risks of obesity is modified through the consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins. The study conducted by Ewha Women’s University assessed 3,941 Korean man aged between 40 and 69 years old.

It discovered, those men with a “low consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins” and achieved an insufficient amount of sleep had an increased risk of obesity compared to those with a higher intake of antioxidant vitamins.

It was also found, those men who achieved less than six hours of sleep a day had a significantly higher body fat mass and percentage, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) compared to those who got seven or more hours of sleep a night. They also had an increased risk of obesity than the comparative group.

Adequate sleep lowers obesity risk

The study also discovered in those who achieved optimal sleep duration of seven hours or more each day, their risk of obesity didn’t increase regardless of their dietary antioxidant intake.  

A potential reason for this outcome is that the sleep deprived individuals are more likely to have an increased appetite. Subjective hunger and increased food consumption may be due to the elevated levels of the hunger stimulating hormone, ghrelin.

Coupled with a decrease in leptin, the satiety signalling hormone, individuals are more likely driven to consume an excessive amount of unhealthy foods. These foods often have a poor nutrient profile and particularly low in antioxidants.

Short sleepers require more antioxidants

The findings of this study suggest the increased risk of obesity based on a short sleep duration could potentially be improved by consuming more dietary antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, retinol and carotene.

Simply put, if you struggle to achieve an adequate night’s sleep, consuming a greater intake of antioxidants could reduce your risk of becoming obese.

The study does have limitations with the authors stating the findings should be interpreted and consider carefully. However, it does highlight the importance of consuming a diet high in vegetables and fruits and the possible need for supplementation.

A diet rich in antioxidant foods, particularly those found in colourful seasonal produce, is a great place to start when trying to reduce your risk of obesity. This, however, it’s not always possible or enough for many individuals. It’s important to consider other factors that could lead to a reduction in the vitamin intake irrespective of the diet. Stress, environmental pollutants, poor soil quality, alcohol and medications are just some of the factors that can compromise the intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals from our food.

That’s where supplementation comes in. Supplements like multivitamins or intravenous vitamin injections like those offered at Cosmos Clinic are designed to supplement a healthy diet. They won’t offset a nutrient poor diet but can increase the intake of important vitamins such as vitamin B and B12, vitamin C and vitamin D3.

Cosmos Clinic’s intravenous vitamin injections are popular amongst those who’ve undergone surgery to improve the healing process or for those simply looking to boost their immunity. The latest study from Ewha Women’s University suggests antioxidant rich infusions or supplements could play an even greater role and help reduce the occurrence of obesity and obesity-related illnesses.