It’s a familiar feeling for many; you have one too many drinks and all of a sudden you start craving food that you would never usually touch. Now, a new study has revealed why we get the munchies when we drink alcohol.

According to latest research, the brain switches into starvation mode when we drink, increasing hunger levels and making us eat more. The research was carried out with mice, finding that alcohol led to increased activity in the part of the brain which regulates appetite.

The question of why we eat more when we’ve been drinking has long been puzzling. Because alcohol has high numbers of calories in it, the body’s regulatory system ought to realise that huge amounts of calories are coming in and, therefore, should not feel like eating.

Alcohol meant more food eaten

However, the opposite actually holds true when people have a drink. The new study found that mice ate more when they were given alcohol. Researchers witnessed there were spikes in the part of the brain used to regulate appetite when they were given alcohol The result was that the mice ate between 10 per cent and 25 per cent more food on the days when they had been given alcohol.

However, research carried out with animals does not always directly translate to people, so further research would be required to see whether this was the case. Researchers do, however, believe that the research would translate to humans. The research is a warning that people trying to lose weight should think about staying off alcohol because they may find that their willpower wanes if they have a drink or two.

The research was carried out by a team at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London. The study has now been published in the renowned Natural Communications journal.


Published by Elizabeth

A journalist from the South West of England, Elizabeth specialises in writing about politics, health and technology.