Why do we crave fatty food when drinking?

The idea that eating all of the greasy food can seem like a great one at 3am but it doesn’t actually benefit your body which is hard at work absorbing alcohol.

So why do we do it? Well it turns out drinking brings out our primal instincts and activates a little neuropeptide in our brain called Galanin.

 

Bringing out our primal instincts.

Our desire to eat high-fat foods after drinking too much is rooted in our earliest, humblest beginnings,” according to David Levitsky, professor of human ecology and nutritional sciences at Cornell University. “All mammals gravitate to eating the most energy-dense foods, and fat is the most energy-dense food available.” When we’re sober, we wouldn’t usually give in to those cravings.

What is Galanin?

Galanin, is a neuropeptide, and has previously been shown to play a role in appetite, particularly for fatty foods. Consumption of fat causes a part of the brain called the hypothalamus to produce more galanin, which, in turn, increases the appetite for fat. In animals given galanin and access to alcohol, the role of the chemical appeared to be subverted: it boosted alcohol intake instead of eating. “Alcohol is the only drug of abuse that is also a calorie-rich food, and it undoubtedly has important interactions with systems that control food intake and nutrition,” said M.Lewis, a senior fellow of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

If you would like to read the methods and results of the NICRAAAA experiment and the possibility that someday it could be used to create a drug to fight alcoholism here’s the link-  https://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/04/q4/1215-galanin.htm

 

 

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