Why do you crave junk food when drunk? Science may have an answer

After a certain amount of alcohol during a night out, that kebab shop starts to seem awfully tempting…

It turns out that booze and junk food may be inextricably linked in our brains. If you start on one then you’re going to want to compliment it with the other.

‘Obesity and alcoholism, two of the most common chronic disorders in the United States, may be behaviorally linked as binge intake of palatable diets, such as diets high in fat, and binge alcohol intake may utilize the same neurocircuitry,’ wrote researchers from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.

Those same researchers decided to put their idea to the test by plying mice with alcohol and observing how their eating habits changed.

After eight weeks, the final group showed a weight-gain and loss cycle associated with binge eating. Those mice also drank more alcohol than water during their access period, showing a clear preference for alcohol.

The other groups both drank less alcohol than the ‘binge diet’ group. While it’s a bit of a stretch to equate mouse munchies with humans, it does seem to show a linking factor in the brain between alcohol and high-fat junk food.

‘Given the increasing rates of binge drinking and overall obesity rates in the U.S. in recent years, we think this new mouse model will be of critical importance in the near future,’ wrote Caitlin Coker, MS, first author of the study.

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