Poor sleep, “dietary disinhibition,” and weight gain

“Dietary disinhibition”

In school, the concept was taught like this: recruit a bunch of people and tell them it’s for a cookie taste-testing project. Give them a form with a bunch of questions about cookie quality (taste, texture, sweetness, etc.) and a plate of cookies.

[Patron link]


They aren’t there for a cookie taste-test. It turns out that some people experience “dietary disinhibition” wherein if they eat one cookie, they think something like “well, I’ve blown my diet for the day, so might as well just eat the whole plate of cookies” (actually, I’m pretty sure it’s way more complicated than that, but I learned it in a nutrition class, not a psychology class).

It’s not a lot of people — most would just take a bite and fill out the questionnaire — but it’s been replicated in enough settings that it’s probably a real phenomenon.

Well check it out:

Dietary disinhibition mediates the relationship between poor sleep and body weight (Blumfield et al. 2018)



We are a nation of crappy sleepers. Too much artificial light at night and not enough blue blockers. And depending on the specific study & #context, etc., you might also see higher ghrelin, lower leptin, and any number of hormonal fluctuations (not going in the right direction). And it starts with poor sleep hygiene.

Not surprisingly, I buy this narrative. And weight gain isn’t the worst of it… here we have another case of “Brain Health” (and anti-cancer).

Disinhibited eating in obese adolescents is associated with brain shrinkage and poor executive function (Maayan et al., 2011)

I’m doing the best I can to find the paths of least resistance leading you to optimal health. AND IT’S NOT BURPEES OR FASTED CARDIO.

For the rest of this article (it’s good, I promise!) or if you just want to support the show, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for access to all articles and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale HERE. BLUblox just upped their game with their 550‘s. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else


calories proper


Become a Patron!



this awesome study




Breakfast skippers

Jacobs and Hirsh