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Why Do Gastric Bypass Patients Get Sleepy After Eating?

Have you noticed since your WLS and return to regular eating a meal often causes you to become sleepy? Seriously sleepy. Drop your head in your plate sleepy.

This happens to me all the time. And there's a good reason for it. When we eat the body produces a rise in blood sugar and a surge in insulin production. This chemical activity sends tryptophan to the brain where it becomes serotonin that signals the body "Take a nap!" Here come the nods, the yawns and the blinking eyes. WLS patients are highly susceptible to post meal sleepiness because of the shortened route to the small intestine. From there the tryptophan has a fast ride to the brain shouting almost like Paul Revere "The Sleepies are coming! The Sleepies are coming!"

Now, I don't want any of you emailing my husband, but quite frequently I dramatically play the "I'm so sleepy" card and go to bed after dinner leaving him with the dishes and evening chores. (Feel free to try this at home!) In fact, he's in the kitchen now doing tonight's dishes!

This is fine for the evening meal, but what about a noonday meal? For example the business lunch. How can we socialize at our mid-day meal and not become a victim of the "Tryptophan Express" to Sleepytown?

A wise nutritional strategy for maintaining a sharp mental edge after lunch is to eat foods that give a gradual, steady release of food energy throughout the afternoon while placing only a light burden on the digestive system. Consider these strategies:

1. Emphasize healthy protein choices, like cold-water fish, beans and legumes, or a non-cream-based main dish soup or stew. Consume 60% of your volume from this group.

2. Choose a minimal serving of low-glycemic-index carbohydrates, like green salad, root vegetables in their skins, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, or artichoke. Consume only 20% of your food volume from this group.

3. Be sure your food choices contain healthy fats, such as cold-water fish, flaxseed oil, olive oil vinaigrette (the vinegar helps slow the release of food energy), nuts, seeds, or avocado

4. Absolutely avoid sugary, starchy, or fatty foods like soft drinks, non-whole-grain pasta, fried foods, and rich or creamy sauces and dressings

5. Skip dessert.

Rest assured, (pun intended) by making wise food choices we can be alert, responsive and LivingAfterWLS! Just say no to the Sleepies by making wholesome healthy food choices.

Kaye Bailey 2005 - All Rights Reserved

Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of and

LivingAfterWLS is a no-nonsense resource for people Living After Weight Loss Surgery. Our community is growing in numbers even as we are shrinking in pounds. Together we support one another in this lifestyle, that it turns out, is NOT the easy way out.

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