Marijuana gets all the glory when it comes to inciting munchies, but alcohol is just as common, if not more so. It’s so common that a name has been coined for drunk munchies: “drunchies.”
Like the munchies you get after smoking pot, the drunchies are characterized by a craving for calorie dense foods, like pizza, tacos, nachos…really, anything you’d find on the happy hour menu at TGI Fridays.
Because obesity is a concern here in America, researchers from the University of Buffalo decided to study the effects of the drunchies on college weight gain, examining what they eat at night and the next morning when they’re hungover.
“Given the obesity epidemic and the rates of alcohol consumption on college campuses, we need to be aware of not only the negative effect of alcohol consumption, but also the impact it has on what people are eating while they are drinking,” said Jessica Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
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Kruger is the lead author on a new study published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion that examined 286 coeds to find out the relationship between their drinking and consecutive eating habits.
“All alcohol drinkers were more likely to eat something before they went to bed after drinking alcohol than in general before they go to bed,” Kruger and her colleagues wrote.
Predictably, they were drawn to junk food over healthier options. Also, in addition to healthy food choices, they skipped drinking water or other non-alcohol beverages before bed, which lead to even greater dehydration.
As for the next morning, according to the University of Buffalo, the students were less likely to skip meals after a night of drinking compared to a typical morning.
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So what exactly creates the drunchies in the first place? “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,” Kruger explains.
You’ve heard it before, kids. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, consume twice as much water. And try to eat a large healthy meal before you imbibe to help soak up the alcohol (yes, it actually works). Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in starvation mode with a killer hangover the next morning. Eating and hydrating may not ward off a hangover (and the munchies) completely, but it will certainly help.