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The nose knows: Sleep deprivation and food choices

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Multitalented vaudevillian Jimmy Durante (1893-1980) often made fun of his oversized nose calling it his "schnozzola." He loved to declare "the nose knows" -- it was one of his signature phrases -- but he probably didn't have a clue that the nose might know a bit too much if you're sleep deprived.

When you're tired, you may seek out high-energy, calorie-dense foods, and it's your nose that tracks them down. But how does sleep deprivation sharpen your sense of smell? It happens in the brain.

Using a functioning MRI, researchers discovered that two cortexes in the brain that control food intake don't communicate very well if you've only had four hours of sleep. They found that when sleep-deprived participants were presented with an array of food choices, the foods that smelled most desirable were those loaded with fats and sugars.

In the U.S., 30% of folks sleep less than six hours a night. That's around the same percentage of Americans who are obese. Coincidence? Not entirely.

If you are struggling with your weight and are chronically sleep deprived, we've got a plan for you: Train your nose to love healthy foods. Start with what you like. Garlicky salmon burgers or salad greens, for instance. Get into the aromas.

Then, tickle your schnozzola with foods that seem more exotic to you. Fennel or cod, perhaps. You can learn to sniff out what's good for you.

 

Head to bed earlier, and make your bedroom quiet (no TV or digital stuff). You'll feel better and shed a few pounds.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

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