The Alcoholic Hunger Games

Published on by Jimmy Sexton (author)

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Alcohol is bad for you, who knew? Before you think we’ve gone mad reporting this, ground breaking new data has just been released on why drinking makes you form a conga line to the kebab store.

UK researchers at the Francis Crick Laboratory in London, have discovered that craving a takeaway after a night out isn’t down to your stomach, but your brain. Alcohol doesn’t actually make you hungry, instead it makes your brain think you’re physically starving!

Mice on which these experiments were conducted, would seek out large amounts of food once they were given alcohol, despite the fact their stomachs were completely full.

This might be starting to sound like something we already know, but learning the science behind it might help us combat it.

Whilst isolating what exactly caused the brain to act this way, the researchers found a way to supress this ‘side effect’ which they say might help with the increasing problem of obesity.

In layman’s terms, they deliberately stopped the hunger ‘signal’ sent to the brain when alcohol enters the body, to prove that this particular neuron was the sole perpetrator.

They realised that if this was introduced deliberately such as a via a pill or even used as an ingredient in alcoholic drinks, people would no longer find themselves eating unnecessarily after a night out, saving them some extra calories.

However, don’t rush out to buy a barrel of rum or close down your takeaway just yet, this may not become more than a pipe dream, as there is an enormous amount of work to do and a number of ethical questions are raised.

For example, even when hungry and sober, the test mice would not eat. Used incorrectly, this could of course be damaging or even fatal and add fuel to the fire when it comes to such delicate debates as body image, disorders such as anorexia and the modelling industries size zero obsession.

The biggest practical and helpful thing we can takeaway from this new data at its early stage is that drinking a few alcoholic beverages before a meal will make you continue eating when you would usually pop the button on your jeans and call it a day. 

But can Science trump tradition? Having a beer with your meal is an institution to some, and nowhere is that more true than in Hastings, which has some of the highest alcohol consumption and related accident and mortality figures in the country.

It remains to be seen if the findings will change people’s ways, but don’t hold your breathalyser!

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