Swedish scientists struggle to explain post-beer munchies
Published: 18 Dec 2008 15:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Dec 2008 15:28 GMT+01:00
A number of studies have shown that a modest intake of alcohol, such as a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, can cause people to eat more than they normally would.
But no one knows exactly why this is the case.
Jan Calissendorff from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm had theorized that alcohol induced cases of the munchies resulted from changes in the levels of several hormones which regulate people’s appetite.
“Something happens that makes it take a longer time before we feel full,” he told the TT news agency.
In testing his theory as a part of his doctoral dissertation, Calissendorff asked 51 healthy test subjects of normal weight to drink either water or alcohol on five different occasions.
He then measured the levels of various appetite regulating hormones, such as leptin, obestatin, and ghrelin, in the subjects’ blood.
But the results of the study were contradictory, as levels of ghrelin actually sunk with alcohol consumption, rather than rising as expected.
“Our hypothesis now is that alcohol has a direct affect on the brain,” said Calissendorff, who vowed to continue working to get to the bottom of the mysteries of alcohol’s hunger inducing effects.