There has been so much research done surrounding America’s obesity epidemic in the past few decades to try and pinpoint the myriad of factors causing the spike in weight gain.
Is it diet? Lifestyle? Environmental factors such as stress? All of the above? These are the questions researchers try and answer through rigorous testing.
A recent test dove into the phenomenon of ‘The Drunchies‘, aka Drunk Munchies. This is where people get drunk and eat fatty foods.
They use the term ‘drunchies’ to describe ‘the desire to eat salty and fatty foods during or after a night of heavy drinking,’ according to Newsweek.
It’s not like you’re getting hammered and craving steamed artichokes and freshly squeezed kale juice, right?
Researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University recognized that most traditional ‘addiction research’ overlooked the connection between eating unhealthy foods after drinking. Given the rate of alcohol consumption on college campuses (65% of U.S. college students regularly drink booze), they realized they had the perfect opportunity on their hands to test this.
Here’s what they found:
“It is believed that after drinking alcohol, the amount of blood glucose in the body can rise and fall which stimulates the brain to feel hungry,” Jessica Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior at University at Buffalo, said in a statement.
“So, we dug a bit deeper and first figured out what the ‘drunchies’ were, and then decided this would be interesting to study. Our first study in this area focused on what people ate while drinking alcohol. This study explored what they eat the day after drinking,” Kruger said.
Study participants completed an anonymous online survey, answering questions about their diet and their alcohol consumption.
The researchers found that participants didn’t report drinking more water before bed, which could exacerbate dehydration, and may lead to more unhealthy food choices.
The day after drinking, participants’ dietary patterns changed from the night before. They gravitated toward foods like pizza or tacos over milk and grains, most likely because of the so-called hangover cures that get passed down to students and which entail eating foods that “soak up” the alcohol, the researchers reported. (via Newsweek)
The study titled ‘The Drunchies Hangover: Heavy Episodic Drinking and Dietary Choices while Drinking and on the Following Day’ was published in the California Journal of Health Promotion, and you can read it in full by following that link.
So what’d we learn? Drinking can cause a spike in your desire for salty and fatty foods and this, in turn, causes you to eat like crap after drinking.
Pair those calories with all of the calories you took in while drinking booze. Combine that with the lack of exercise to burn off those calories and it’s fairly easy to see why The Drunchies can cause a spike in weight gain on college campuses.
However, this certainly doesn’t explain the obesity epidemic across America.