The Checkup: Tired? Study Shows Lack of Sleep Linked to Hunger

If you don't get enough sleep, you might feel hungrier than you really are.

• If you have trouble sleeping, whatever you do, don’t get up and flip on the Food Network: a new study found that a lack of sleep can make you feel hungrier than you actually are, increasing your cravings and, with it, your waistline. The study looked at a group of men who perused images of food after a good night of sleep and after pulling an all-nighter. When they got zero sleep, brain scans revealed the men showed more activity in the part of the brain that controls hunger cues compared with the night of good sleep. The subjects even said they felt hungrier, too, but measurements of blood-glucose levels before and after they viewed the images were the same. All that to say, sleep and hunger are connected, so if you’re not getting enough zzz’s, you might find you’re hungrier—and probably eating more—throughout the day.

• Researchers have found two new genetic markers for breast cancer, bringing the total number of known genetic red flags for the disease to 25. It’s big news, considering breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and it kills 400,000 people a year. But science still has a ways to go: According to HealthDay, “The three new susceptibility loci might explain only about 0.7 percent of the familial risks of breast cancer, bringing the total contribution to about 9 percent.”

• Did you catch Frank Bruni’s op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times? The former food critic waxed about Paula Deen’s diabetes revelation last week, arguing that Deen’s story is evidence of a disconnect between what chefs and food critics seem to eat and endorse on TV and in print, and what their real eating habits are outside of the public eye. Bruni says the public could benefit from knowing that many public food figures actually exercise like well-oiled machines and eat light yogurt for breakfast and lean salads for lunch. They’re also experts in portion control: both chefs and critics really only need a taste of the food in front of them to know if it’s good, and many will put down their forks after just a few bites. Sure, it’d be easy to overdo it in that world—and maybe Paula Deen’s eaten one too many glazed-doughnut hamburgers in her day—but have you ever stopped to wonder how Padma Lakshmi could possibly be so trim? I’m guessing she doesn’t make cleaning her plate a regular habit.