Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

What to do about sleepiness during the day?

Do you guys ever hit a point in the afternoon when you find yourself yawning continuously and unable to concentrate for long periods of time?  If so, what do you do about this?  Are catnaps allowed at your job or do you have to sneak one in from time to time?

At times, I'll take a 10 minute nap on the toilet and come back refreshed for several hours.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Get up. Walk around. Get a drink. Write terse sentances. Find a problem that requires concentration and thought.

Get more sleep ;)

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

>At times, I'll take a 10 minute nap on the toilet and come back refreshed for several hours.

Is this a joke?

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Get enough sleep at night.  If you don't usually wake up before your alarm clock goes off, you aren't getting enough sleep.

T. Norman
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Its called "Documenting".  As in, boy I'm tired and can't seem to code another line comprehensibly.  I should use this time to go back and document my code and make sure that even tired and drained I can understand it.  If I can understand it at this point surely others have at least half a chance of getting it.

As far as other physical endeavors to keep oneself awake and productive aside from this activity - I recommend a quick trip to the cafeteria to sit and have a coke in quiet and light - a quick walk around the building (in sunlight no less) - and even a quick foray onto a site like this one to engage in intelligent discussion.

Whatever you do though, don't sleep on the can - what if you fall over with your shorts around your ankles and a VP walks in?

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Eat a smaller lunch, more excercise

Daniel Shchyokin
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

And stop drinking caffinated beverages.

I'm serious. I found that over years of overindulging in caffine, I reached a point where it didn't give the quick pickup I needed anymore. Instead, it just gave me a headache AND kept me from getting a good night's sleep.

Kicking that habit got my sleep schedule more-or-less back to normal, and I'm a lot more coherent during the day.

Chris Tavares
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Frequent napping is great; mentioning that people such as da Vinci and Churchill did this tends to legitimize it to star-struck people.  (Saddam Hussein and Hitler were rumored to do this too, but you can't say they weren't active.)

My last job, I had to sneak them in.  The one before that, it was allowed on the couch because who is allowed to question how someone achieves productivity when they are productive?

You're not alone about sleeping on the can.  I know it sounds really bad to some, but not only did I do it about 5 times at my last job, I also hired a friend to team with me who sheepishly admitted to doing it once.  I remember not forgiving my workplace for making me feel bad for something that, in the end, was for my productivity.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Daytime sleepiness is often caused by side-effects of medication (antidepressants and antihistamines are frequent culprits).  Sleep apnea is another common cause of daytime sleepiness.  You might try running some Google searches on this.

A drug called Provigil (generic: modafinil) can sometimes be used to treat daytime sleepiness.

Alex Chernavsky
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Try going for a brisk walk during lunch. If you work in a large complex, try walking to the most remote coffee machine you can find whenever you feel sleepy.

If nothing else works, practice visualizing you keeping your job because you were busy enough that you didn't have time to worry about falling asleep.

Eric Moore
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I don't drink caffiene, I don't get enough sleep at night, and I'm often afflicted by the 3:00 drowsies.

I think it's related to eating heavy, carbohydrate ladened lunches that causes your blood sugar to skyrocket and then plummet. Keep a small journal of what you eat for lunch & how you feel later on. You can do it in Excel and it will look like work.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Yes, I too go to the bathroom to close my eyes for 10 minutes! Of course, I'm tired because I'm up at 4:30am feeding my 4-month old daughter. :)

Power naps are underrated.

Chi Lambda
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

In many instances, daytime sleepiness is simply a completely natural phenonomen (your biological clock kicking in). Unfortunately, many employers (especially large corporations) will not acknowledge the fact that sometimes people need to take a nap in order to make it through the rest of the day in a productive manner.

I have suffered from early afternoon sleepiness throughout my career and it doesn't matter whether I have eaten lunch or not. Sometimes I drink an energy drink such as Red Bull, sometimes I take a nodoz, and sometimes I sneak a nap in wherever I can (inside my car, cubicle, etc.).

One Programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Napping's effectiveness varies.  In my case, I've found that unless I missed something like 2-3 hours of sleep the night before, taking a nap (or having caffeine) after about 2pm just means I can't fall asleep at a reasonable hour that night.

I'll second try different stuff and keep a log.  You should be able to figure out what works.

Sam Gray
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I guess there's something to be said for living close to work, and taking the extra-late lunch as a power nap on your couch. :)

Thank god I work at home 4 days a week. I nap almost every day, and it really helps clear my mind and get me back into productivity. I'm trying to blame it on my wife being restless during the night to see if I can score some sympathy. :-p

Brad Wilson (
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Sleeping more at night is the best way to address daytime sleepiness.

See sleep researcher William Dement 's work at for more information. His book _The Promise of Sleep_ has a lot of interesting material.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The person who said "Cut back on the carbs" was right on the money.  Avoid bread, rice, pasta, and sugar.  Opt for high-protein meals with vegetables or a green salad on the side.  Kind of a scaled-down version of the Atkins Diet.  Also be sure to take a B-Complex supplement daily.

I drink 6-7 cups of strong coffee per day but never have problem being drowsy at any point during the day.  However, if I deviate from the above menu plan (i.e. overdose on carbohydrates, especially sugar) I become drowsy and noticeably lethargic.

By the way, if you adopt this menu plan it takes a couple of days for the benefits to kick in.  Your body always has a 48-hour reserve supply of carbohydrates -  you need a couple of days to deplete this.

Matt Foley
Wednesday, April 16, 2003


If you people can't handle staying awake during your job you should find a different job.

Developers are just commodity products. Your company will be better off with someone who works straight through the day. Napping is for babies who stay up too late because they can't prioritze their schedule.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Take the phone book off the shelf and place it on the floor under my desk (that's the pillow).  Put on a sweater or sweat shirt if I have one around.  Sleep for an hour.  Totally refreshed and ready to go home  :).

Nat Ersoz
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Avoid Carbs, avoid eating huge/heavy meals. Get a good night's sleep.

If you still feel sleepy - have a chit with anyone you can find at work.

If all else fails go back to the toilet for a powernap:-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

At Xerox I was lucky enough to have an Office all to myself.  So I brought in a pillow.  I'd just shut the door, turn off the light, and go to sleep (usually under my desk).

I was also a contract worker, so I only billed for the hours that I was awake, and they seemed fine with that.

Derek Woolverton
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Never make an appointment just after lunchtime to see anyone in Taipei, chances are there head will be pillowed on the  arm on the desk and they'll be sleeping.

Its perfectly natural to be sleepy in the afternoon, especially as you get older.  Mind, staying up late, drinking and what have you isn't going to make it any easier.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Unforgiveable use of 'there' instead of 'their', I put it down to lack of sleep and that I just got up.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Your not alone.  I sometimes have to revert to napping on the toilet.

Those who think that getting more sleep at night is very easy are most likely not parents.  Not of small children, anyway.

I'm am going to cut down on the carbs, though.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

There's something in one of the Dilbert books (I think), which suggests that you close the office door, spill paperclips on the floor in front of it and then lie down with your feet against the door and have a nap. If ynaone comes in it will wake you up and look as though you are just picking up the paperclips.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Someone I used to work with said that they once worked with a dude (third hand info), who as part of his day to day work had to read the papers (press office or something).

Anyway, this guy had trained himself to nap at his desk, while holding the paper up in front of his face. Anytime someone entered his office, he would turn the page, and pretend to have been reading ...

I tend to just take my shoes off, and drink lots of water when I am tired.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Some companies i know (in the middle east) - work from 8 -1 pm , have a 3 hour lunch break, then work again from 4- 8 pm...

Would be interesting if this was applied to software companies.

The underlying assumption being that one's commute between home and work takes less than 30 minutes one way ..

Prakash S
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Sleep. 10-20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

get a different chair, one that provides the proper support.  Most chairs promote slouchy-ness, putting you more in a sleepy position.  Remember back in the 80's those chairs you basically kneel in?  Support was provided via good posture.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

First, try to get plenty of quality sleep at night. Maintain a very regular sleep pattern. Don't be tempted to stay up late watching a TV program-- get a Tivo or similar device if you're a late-nite talk-show junkie. Try to get at least 7.5 hours each night.

Next, try to exercise in the morning before work. It will increase your alertness throughout the day and you'll find yourself relying less on caffeine and sugar. Build up your exercise routine so that you can have a vigorous workout 2 or 3 mornings a week. If you don't sweat heavily, you can't call it a vigorous workout.

Generally speaking, exercise will improve blood-flow to your brain, so you should find that you feel sharper. Cycling and swimming are pretty good light-impact early-morning activities.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

2nd on the regular sleep pattern and exercise. I've determined that it doesnt matter if I keep weird hours, so long as I keep the same weird hours every day. back in my psycho hacker days, i probably actually slept MORE than I do now. now I get about 6.5 hours of sleep per night, exercise, drink a lot of water, and feel fine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

My dad, who ran a small business came home every work day after lunch and took a 30 minute nap (except once a week when he played golf).  I admire that more and more as I "mature."

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

If I hit that afternoon slump, I usually take a walk.  I've found that a 15-minute walk in the fresh air -- even if it's uncomfortably cold or hot outside -- will wake me up.

(I'm still laughing at NotBella; very cute.)

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

If you don't drink coffee, you might be surprised how little you have to drink to keep you from nodding off.  Take that big gigantic paper cup they offer, and just fill at an inch deep, and your good!  If you are already a regular multi-cup per day coffee drinker, you are screwed, the stuff doesn't work anymore.

Keith Wright
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Sure its does.. its just a matter of dosage

Eric DeBois
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The only time I've had really serious problems with drowsiness at work is when I was taking Claritin for my allergies; I was nodding off even in front of people trying to teach me stuff.  I suspect I was close to losing that job over this, and I'm certain it permanently damaged my reputation there (fortunately I no longer work there).  So if you're taking any allergy medication, consider this problem.

One thing that can really help you be alert during the day is to commute to work by bicycle; do it regularly and your overall energy level will increase.  (Though I haven't done it much lately myself; I rode 14 miles two days ago and am still wheezing from all the pollen.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I used to work at a physically demanding job (section crew for railroad, if anyone knows what that is). 1 hour lunch. 20 min eating, 20 minutes napping, 20 minutes playing cards--standard procedure on every crew I worked. Now I'm a programmer, and find that the mental exercise is even more draining than the physical ever was. I try to snag 20-30 minutes after lunch every day. Fortunately, I work from home, but this is one of the reasons why I will never willingly go back to the 'dungeon'. This is surely the way we were meant to live.

Ron Porter
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

as others have said above -- STOP DRINKING CAFFEINE!

I was exhausted in the middle of the day, and late in the day as well -- and then I switched to decaf in the morning.

My energy level exploded.

Why?  My gut feeling is that the caffeine rush you get in the morning "wears you out," or results in a "crash" that has been noted in other drugs.

Whatever the reason, it really boosted my energy level.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I also like walks. I'm trapped inside all day, no fresh air or sunlight. Just entering the "Blue Room" can really pick up your mood.

Swamp Justice
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

As sort of a side note, I disagree with those who have suggested avoiding carbs.  Carbs are like energy batteries for your body, they slowly release energy as they are digested (unlike something like sugar, which is a big energy boost that wears off quickly).  Carbs and proteins serve very different purposes... proteins are used for building body structure.  They are only needed to replace amino acids that our bodies can't produce on their own.  They don't provide energy in the same way that carbs do.  You only have so much use for proteins, and the excess is turned into fat.  Carbs on the other hand provide energy your body needs for daily operation.  Both are needed in appropriate quantities in a healthy diet.  Most Americans already eat too much protein, they certainly don't need to concentrate more on protein and less on carbs.  Don't believe every fad diet that comes along.

Mike McNertney
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

maybe sleep apnea?
you may not even know you have it...
do you have headaches when you wake up?

this may make you tired during the day, being woken up at night....

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

When I feel I'm sleepy, I go out about half an hour and take a walk in the sun, breath deeply, etc.

It seems to work wonders for me.

I can do this because I am working from home.

Also, make sure you sleep sufficiently.

Of course, YMMV.

George Nicolescu
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Mike, in no way was I advocating a low carb diet. I was simply saying that a heavy, high-carb lunch can affect your blood sugar levels. I know that soft drinks affect me in one of three ways:

1) no noticable effect
2) make me speedy
3) make me tired

This is from years of astute self-observation, which is a difficult skill to master.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Mike McNertney wrote:  "Carbs are like energy batteries for your body, they slowly release energy as they are digested (unlike something like sugar, which is a big energy boost that wears off quickly). " [rest snipped]

Mike, no offense, but much of what you wrote is questionable at best.  For one thing, all sugars are carbohydrates.  For another thing, it's not at all clear that Americans eat too much protein, or that eating a greater proportion of protein will make your body convert the protein into fat.  See, for example:

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Alex, that article by gary taubes is not scientifically credible and in fact was a source of embarrassment for many of the  nutritionists and doctors involved. Reason has a good article about it:

Metabolism is pretty well understood. The reason why americans are so fat is because they eat too much and don't get enough exercise. the whole carbs/protein thing is bogus. if you eat 4000 calories of anything per day and get no exercise, you are going to stay fat. eating 4000 calories of bacon instead of 4000 calories of spaghetti is not going to change anything.

If you currently eat 4000 calories per day of steak (high protein) and change your diet to only drink 1500 calories of Coca-cola (high carb), you WILL lose weight. I moved to japan and my diet consisted of: soba noodles and canned coffee with milk and sugar. I probably ate about 1800 calories per day max, and went from 200 pounds to 165 in the course of 6 months.

How calories relate to sleep is less well understood; personally me either eating a pound of bacon or a pound of pasta would make me feel pretty awful.

I typically feel my best when I eat a moderate amount of rice and vegetables spaced out through the day (i.e. stir fry, a small veggie burritio) rather than a couple huge meals.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


I've done some additional reading on the subject, and I found the Taubes article to be largely credible.  More importantly, I have lost 46 pounds since I started a low-carb diet last July (2002).

I eat things that would curl a nutritionist's hair -- things like bacon cheeseburgers (sans bun, of course), big omelettes with breakfast sausage, and grilled steaks with pats of butter.  I've had my cholesterol levels checked twice since last summer, and both times the readings were better than they were before I started the diet.

I've tried low-fat, and I've tried high-fat:  high-fat is better.

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Hey Choppy I lived in Japan for some time and lost 40 kilos in the first year. I put it down to the increased amount of walking I did using the subway rather than driving everywhere.

Matthew Lock
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Dear Alex,
                Try reading the right stuff next time. If you were told your debt problems would disappear if you spent the money on beefburgers instead of spaghettii you would laugh the idea out of court however many learned books of financial analysis claimed to crunch the numbers to make them credible.

                Remember Mr. Micawber in "David Copperfield"? - Income one pound per month, my dear boy,expenditure 19/6d, paradise; income one pound per month, expenditure 20/6d misery!.

                Exactly the same with food. Expenditure 2,800 calories per day, calory intake 2,700 calories, weight loss; expenditure 2,800 calories per day, calory intake 2,900 calories, weight gain and eventual obesity.

              The only weight loss you acheive by believing in anything else is that to your wallet!

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 17, 2003

>As sort of a side note, I disagree with those who have
>suggested avoiding carbs.  Carbs are like energy
>batteries for your body, they slowly release energy as
>they are digested (unlike something like sugar, which is a
>big energy boost that wears off quickly).  Carbs and

I believe that carbohydrates in the form of starch (from bread, rice, pasta etc) are *more* easily broken down into glucose by the body than is glucose from ordinary sugar. Because starch consists of long chains of glucose molecules which can just be split apart by an enzyme whereas sucrose requires a more difficult and slower conversion into gluclose.

So starch is even worse than sugar for this problem.

Now I only read this somewhere so I'm not 100% sure it's true, and it didn't say what carbohydrates are better instead.

Thursday, April 17, 2003


Your response reminds me of the story about the country bumpkin who visited a zoo for the first time.  Upon seeing a giraffe, he exclaimed, "This beast doesn't exist".  My bathroom scale isn't lying to me every morning when I weigh myself.

In any case, the question of calorie-counts is a red herring here, and I don't quite understand why people keep bringing up that issue.  It doesn't really matter to me whether the body is an efficient calorie-counting machine or not.  What matters to me (and to anyone who tries to slim down) is whether one can lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.

Low-fat diets are extraordinarily hard to maintain over the long-run, because sooner or later, your willpower is ground down.  You just can't go through life feeling hungry for much of the day.  High-fat, high-protein, low-carb diets are much easier, because you don't have those severe hunger pangs all the time.

Even many doctors are changing their minds about this issue.  See, for example:

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Checking up your medical reference I see

---"He approached the Robert C. Atkins foundation in New York City to finance the research. "---

Nuff said.

You don't seem to understand that if you have lost weight it is because you are eating less.

All that a successful diet plan does for you is make it easier to do that. If you find that a high-fat diet leaves you less hungry than another for the same number of calories then it works for you. As Americans have been targeted since children by junk food advertisers it is quite likely that you will suffer withdrawal symptoms if you don't get the fix of fat, so the diet cuts down on carbs to reduce the total calory intake.

The grapefruit diets and other such diets work on the principle that if you have to have grapefruit with everything you will get heartily sick of it and eat less. A cowshit with everything diet would have even more effect but that would be too obvious.

The whole point of the diet industry is to lighten your wallet. If you were told that the only way to lose weight is to eat less than you burn (and that basically means eating less since exercise burns off almost nothing unless you do it in a very cold room when you will burn off a lot of calories keeping up your body heat) and that when you eat less than you burn you feel hungry, and that all a diet can do is trick you into feeling less hungry, then there would be a lot less money to be gained than there is from the present mumbo-jumbo.

And of course all of the literature on dieting serves the psychological purpose of helping people forget that they are too fat because they ate too much in the first place.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 17, 2003


Five points:

1)  The vast majority of medical studies are conducted with funding that's "tainted" in one way or another (often with money from pharmaceutical companies).  If you reject the results of these studies _a priori_, then you don't end up with much.  Sure, we need to be skeptical of apparent conflicts of interest, but we still need to look at the actual data before we make a final judgement.  In any case, people who are not associated with Atkins are changing their minds, as well. See, for example, the following excerpt (link provided at the bottom):


Some scientists are dismayed by the data and a little incredulous about it," says Gary Foster, who runs the weight-loss program at the University of Pennsylvania. "But the consistency of the results across studies is compelling in a way that makes us think we should investigate this further." [...]

Nevertheless, three decades of dietary gospel are in doubt, and those questioning it include some of the most prominent names in obesity research.  For instance, one of the new studies was conducted by Foster with Drs. Samuel Klein and James Hill, the current and past presidents of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, the premier professional group.

"I'm part of the obesity establishment," says Foster, who has published more than 50 scientific papers on the subject. "I've spent my life researching ways to treat obesity, and 100 per cent of them have been low-fat and high-carb. Now I'm beginning to think, it isn't as it has appeared."


2)  You wrote, "You don't seem to understand that if you have lost weight it is because you are eating less."  My response is this: it's totally irrelevant to me whether I'm consuming more calories, fewer calories, or the same number of calories.  I'm interested only in the final result (e.g., weight loss), and in the difficulty-- or lack thereof -- of achieving the final result.  Forty-six pounds (in my case) is nothing to sneeze at, and I achieved this goal after first having failed on a more-conventional (and certainly more difficult) low-fat diet.

3)  You wrote: "The whole point of the diet industry is to lighten your wallet."  Maybe, but the only money I spent on my diet (besides purchasing the food itself) is about $2 for Atkins's paperback book -- a book that I bought used.  (Disclaimer:  Atkins is probably right about low-carb diets, but for the wrong reasons.  Many of his arguments are questionable, and he does come across as a bit of a quack.)

4) You wrote: "The grapefruit diets and other such diets work on the principle that if you have to have grapefruit with everything you will get heartily sick of it and eat less."  This is true, but irrelevant in this case.  I've been eating a low-carb diet for approximately 9 months, and I'm not sick of it -- the variety of foods prevents this.  The reason for my weight loss is something _other_ than my saying, "Damn, I'm so sick of meat, fish, cheese, eggs, etc. that I can't even _look_ at another serving without feeling nauseous".

5)  You wrote:  "exercise burns off almost nothing unless you do it in a very cold room ".  That statement is false.  I've never even heard anyone make this claim before.  The ambient temperature has a smaller effect on your rate of metabolism than the intensity of the exercise you're performing.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Alex, whether or not it is irrelevant to you that you are eating fewer calories, the reason you are losing weight is because you are eating fewer calories. You could switch from your high fat diet to an all candy diet , and if you only ate 2 mars bars a day instead of 3 baconburgers, you would lose even more weight.  It doesn't hurt to know as much about metabolism as a freshman biology major...

My brother lost close to 100 pounds over the course of a year by simply stopping drinking soda and beer, and walking to and from work (45 min. each way) instead of taking public transport...

Thursday, April 17, 2003


Insulting your opponent's intelligence isn't going to win you any points in a debate.  Citing studies and using logical arguments is the way that rational people settle contentious issues.

Back to the matter at hand:  calorie intake is an academic matter -- it has little bearing on the practical issues involved in weight loss.  The crucial factor is how difficult or easy it is to maintain a diet, not in the thermodynamics behind the diet.

But, just for the record, you may be wrong for a different reason, as well.  See the exerpt below, and pay particular attention to the final sentence:


But another of Atkins' ideas on the subject is far more contentious. He argues that people lose more weight on his plan even if they actually eat more calories. That's a violation of the laws of thermodynamics, skeptics say.

``A calorie is a calorie as far as weight reduction is concerned,'' says Dr. Michael Davidson, director of preventive cardiology at the Rush Heart Institute in Chicago.

Or is it? Some of the new studies suggest otherwise.

Dr. Stephen Sondike of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City put overweight teenagers on comparison diets for two months. The ones on Atkins lost twice as much as those on the low-fat diet. Yet they appeared to eat about 700 more calories a day than the others.


Granted, this is just one study, but it's wise to maintain an open mind and a sense of humility.  As somone once said, "There is no phenomenon -- no matter how complex -- that, upon further examination, doesn't turn out to be even MORE complex".  That quote was directed at the study of psychology, but it can apply to nutrition, as well.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Alex, this is an internet forum, not a rational, reasoned debate. I thought I was doing rather well in terms of keeping the flames to a minimum. I'm suprised that someone with the anonymous handle of "CyberFatso" hasn't jumped in with a comment like "Maybe everyone should ask Dr. Fatkins how he feels about his diet now, after his recent cardiac arrest?"

But I digress...

Like most magazine articles about the topic, there are no references to the actual journal articles. I'm working here at my day job at the research hospital, and don't find any journal entries from "stephen sondike atkins sinai" but perhaps i'm not doing the search right.  The guy sitting next to me (a pediatric endocrinologist) claims that the only explanation he could think of is that the kids eating the 700+ extra calories aren't even digesting those calories, the added burgers are just being pooped out. 

In any case, if Atkin's is working for you, that rocks, and I would keep at it.  I'm just saying I don't believe there is something magic about protein vs. carbs.

IF you really think that it is the protien, and calorie counting doesn't matter, I challenge you to eat what you are eating now, plus an additional 12 strips of bacon every day for the next six months. Let me know if you keep losing weight.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

The Sondike study appeared in the March, 2003 issue of the _Journal of Pediatrics_.  The abstract is available here:

Your example with the 12 strips of bacon ignores the question of subjective feelings of hunger -- which, in a sense, is the only question that matters.  The advantage of low-carbohydrate diets is that the weight loss occurs without excessive food cravings.  The biochemical details of food metabolism are no more relevant to a dieter than the thermodynamics of gasoline combustion are relevant to the person who just wants to drive his car to the supermarket.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003

i guess i agree with you in that most people don't want to count calories. me being a quantitative kind of guy, i don't really have an issue with it. you seem to imply that it totally doesn't matter; i have an issue with THAT. I think people should at leat be conscious of the fact that eating a lot of calories most likely == why you are fat. in regards to your car, if you drive a 1980 pointiac parisienne and your gas bill is $500/month, it might help to know that you are driving a car that only gets 4 mpg.

i don't really like fatty food or meat, thus atkins wouldn't work so well for me. sure i don't feel hungry after eating a steak, but i also feel like going to bed. what works for me is "soup." it seems to alleviate any sort of hungry feeling and also doesn't slow me down.

thanks for the link, i'll check it out...probably should attempt to do some work today. ;-)

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Actually, you should drop the coffee altogether, eat a lighter lunch, and get a very good night sleep. Try to go bed before 00:00 (this assuming you wake up at 7am like me).

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Unfortunate news: Dr. Atkins died today.

Ann Onymous
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Dear Alex,
                  If you seriously think that because you are losing weight the laws of thermodynamics don't apply good for you.There are enough fools around that one more won't make a difference.

                  You don't get me about the grapefruit diets; they were before your time maybe, but the idea was that you ate grapefruit or whatever with every meal. The result was many people lost weight and put this down to the "scientific" virtues of the diet, just as you are doing now with the low-carb diet.

                      Now it is quite possible that the Atkins diet is suited to Americans who want to lose weight. The junk food industry has been targeting kids from the age of three upwards for more than thirty years now and large numbers of Americans are probably so used to a diet rich in fat that they suffer from withdrawal systems without it. That would be sufficient to explain the subjective feelings of hunger you get on a low-fat diet even though your calory intake is high.

                    Also bear in mind that eating large amounts of protein instead of carbohydrate has little short-term effect on health (though the lack of fibre and complex carbohydrates can cause long term deficiences such as colon cancer). It is however financially wasteful, though the industrialization of the food chain in the developed world has done much to skew the pricing. Eat the steak and throw away the bun, it doesn't really make that much difference.

                  One thing is abundantly clear; Americans, and to a lesser extent Brits, have been obsessed with dieting for the last thirty years and the only result has been a massive increase in obesity; at present something like 30% of Americans are clinically obese and another 35% overweight; add the underweight and anorexic to the equation and it doesn't leave many free to audition for Baywatch.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 17, 2003


Your arguments would carry more weight if you provided some evidence to back-up your assertions.  I think I've been pretty good about posting references, myself.

The laws of thermodynamics obviously apply to everything.  However, it doesn't necessarily follow that the human body is a 100%-efficient calorie-counting machine, as you seem to be implying (did you click on any of the links to articles that seem to dispute your assertions?)

And as I've said _ad nauseum_ -- I don't care about calories, except in some abstract, scientific sense.  I care about the fact that a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is a safe, effective, and reasonably easy way to lose weight.  This much has been proven to me to my satisfaction, both by the articles I've read and -- more importantly -- by personal experience.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Dear Alex,
                Your references have proved nothing whatsoever, apart from to yourself.

                You maintain that a low carb/high fat diet has enabled you to lose weight. Fine, nobody is disputing that. Whether it will enable others to lose weight or not is a different matter. And whether it is a healthy long term diet that will enable you to stay a correct weight is more controversial again. After all gross obesity is common in cultures with a high-fat diet and uncommon or non-eixistent in cultures without one.

              Now it may be "academic" to you whether you have lost weight because you are consuming less calories than you burn or because of some kind of pseudo-religious mumbo jumbo; fine by me. It is academic to me whether the earth goes round the sun or vice-versa but that doesn't mean I fill the internet with references to flat earth websites to pr

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 17, 2003

'kay Alex, bury your head in the sand. Eat all meat and no carbs because it tastes better. Whatever. Do you think the whole 'eat more fiber' is a conspiracy against you? Or do you think we care about whether you get bowel cancer or not? Or don't you think McD's are more than happy for you to spend x dollars stuffing yourself with poison because you'll be okay because you threw the bun away? Seriously, carry on if you want, who are we to try and tell you that fruit and vegetables are better?

Thursday, April 17, 2003


You're right, my friend.  I apologize for my shortcomings.


Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, April 17, 2003


And learn how to breathe.

fool for python
Friday, April 18, 2003

Hmmm... I think I would expect that anyone who can't stay awake, probably can't control any other bodily functions either.

Joe AA
Friday, April 18, 2003

Yes, I'm always shitting myself while at work. Obviously.

Friday, April 18, 2003

With all the variuous opinions on eating habits, I am just curious if anyone has experinced a similar effect to my sleepiness on the job.
Although it is true that a nap during the day cures my overwhelming slepiness for me, I have noticed that on days which I eat very little or nothing for lunch the afternoon slipiness does not appear or is not as strong.
Whenever I have a full stomach from eating lunch, I succumb to the sleepiness which seems to overwhelm me duing the hours of 1 or 3pm.
It does not matter weather my large intake of food was a large chef salad or a large meal of Italian food.
It seems as if by keeping my stomach just a little hungry, I am able to ward off the sleeping episode and remain highly alert during the afternoon.
That is all the information I have.

Al Rankin
Friday, October 31, 2003

Seriously, you can't just say get more sleep at night.  It doesn't actually work that way.  You can't store up sleep.  It's impossible.  Caffeine and carbohydrates will give you energy for a short while, but what do you do if you are at school and you can't get those.  You are stuck!  Taking a nap on the pot?? I've never heard of that one, but I'm sure that it'd work.  I can't see why not.  If anyone gets an educational answer to this question, something I can use at school, highschool if it makes a difference, I would love to be able to find out the answer.  Thanks!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Try Rooibos Tea,( Bush Tea ). This African red tea can help you get to sleep at night and keep you awake during the day. No caffeine. The African's have been drinking this for hundreds of years. A good cup of  Bush Tea and a nap in the afternoon would make for a perfect day.


S. Forysinski
Monday, April 19, 2004

You guys might want to investigate "Candida albicans" They are the number one cause of after lunch sleepiness...It's a yeast in the intestine (we all have it) that can get out of hand when the stomach goes alkaline, friendly bacteria is killed out. It is a process that takes place over a number of years ..through abuse of antibiotics ..caffeine..steroids and other drugs..The candida grows roots that perforate the intestine...when they feed on sugar they secrete poisons into the blood stream (usually after lunch that cause you to lull off)..

If you crave sugar, feel sleepy after eating carbs...always fatigued after a good nights may be candida. Go on Google type .."candida saliva test" to see if this is your problem...If it is, then probiotics (friendly bacteria used in yoghurt) may be your next best friend to get from your health food store...I suffered  from this for 15 years and your Posts bring back memories to me..

Ashley Graham
Friday, July 23, 2004

I have weights in my office and I will use those to get my blood pumping.  I hear its a female thing, but I also get colder easier than the males in my office; lifting weights helps with being cold. 
However, I am still overweight (got the gut to prove it) :-). 
I do get sleepy sometimes anyway, but napping could be an integral part of memory rentention, check this out: Napping reverses information overload @
Anyway, as all you desk people know, most of us never get our (2) 15 minute breaks with a lunch anyway, maybe if we could legitimately get our breaks we wouldn't be sleeping in bathrooms. :-)

Monday, August 9, 2004

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