Sippin’ & Suppin’: Why Drinking Makes You Hungry

Food & Drink

We’ve all been there—out for the evening, ordering round after round, consuming enough alcohol to make a blue whale trip over its fins. Now you’re starving and on the prowl for a few slices, a hamburger and some fries, a meatball parm sub, a plate full of tacos, fried chicken, fried cheese, fried anything. This post-overindulgence overindulging may seem like a no-brainer for most modern-day merrymakers, but the fact is that the brain is highly involved in this ritual—there’s a science to it. Read on, learn and generate some new brain cells to replace the ones all of that drinking knocked out of commission.

Inhibitions, schminhibitions
Overeating or eating junk while drunk is frequently blamed on a simple lack of self control. While a lack of control has its place in this story, it’s not in the way you might expect. We all know that alcohol does drop the inhibitions, and that applies in these gluttonous exploits.

We’re not talking anything weird here—no Jekyll and Hyde business, no loss of morality, no homicidal tendencies—just the fact that you won’t think twice about laying waste to that fat plate of food when it arrives.

Blame it on the brain
You already know that the brain is a pretty busy organ. And when our bodies make the efforts needed to process alcohol, we’re just giving it one more thing to do. Processing the alcohol we’ve consumed reduces the body’s ability to keep sugar levels balanced, which in turn could result in some heavy-duty cravings, particularly for carb loading.

Here comes that aforementioned science. Studies have shown that AgRP neurons, the brain cells that provoke hunger, are in fact activated by alcohol. According to smart-people data, this sustains appetite signals, i.e., causes someone to overeat. This also matches scientists’ belief that ethanol (alcohol) may distort the brain’s hunger signals. The hypothalamus, which produces hormones that help govern various body functions, including hunger, focuses more on food. So as you can see, it’s your brain’s fault, not yours. Your brain wants those cheese fries, not you. Feel better?

That drink is pooiiisssoooon
The word intoxicate traces back to the Latin “toxicum,” the word for “poison,” and the earliest meaning was quite literal, “to poison.” This is not really the case anymore, with intoxication referring to things that have the power to excite or stupefy, like fragrances, flowers, booze. Alcohol is a toxin and alcohol calories aren’t recognized by the body, so when you consume it, your body wants to metabolize it as quickly as possible and get it of your system. That’s why you don’t feel full from alcohol calories. So while having five slices may make you feel stuffed, having five mojitos will have quite the opposite effect and make that pizza look extra good around 1:30 a.m.

Dry as a bone
The average adult human body is 50-65% water and uses water in cells and tissues and organs to keep things functioning. Translation: You need water to work properly. Alcohol is a diuretic and expels water from the body. Translation: It dehydrates you and prevents your body from working properly. As you may have guessed, dehydration makes you feel thirsty, but that can easily be confused with feeling hungry. If you’re not replacing lost fluids when drinking, your body will likely go on the prowl for food. The next thing you know you’re eating everything in sight in an attempt to get things back to normal.

Knowledge is power
Armed with the facts, you can now venture out and avoid the drunchies by never having one too many again. Just kidding. The real way to fight the good fight against booze-induced hunger is by eating your alcohol. The Booze-Infused Jerky Crate lineup includes Caribbean Rum, Cabernet, Bourbon, Whiskey BBQ, Chipotle Tequila, Dark Ale and IPA Jerkies. This ideal gift for men will help keep the festivities going while providing a tasty cure for hunger.

Those who can admit that their need for hydration will not be met with a glass of water can look to the Ramen Connoisseur Crate. It serves up a hot broth and tender noodles in world-class ramen flavors.