Scientists Explain People's Drunken Pizza Cravings

First Posted: Jan 21, 2017 03:00 AM EST

Ever wonder where the cravings for pizza and burgers after a night of drinking and partying come from?

Live Science reported that a study published in the journal Nature Communications explains why drunken people love to indulge in fast food. While previous studies say that alcohol calories suppress the brain's appetite signals, beer drinkers still go through the overeating condition called "the apéritif effect" to end the long night.

To solve this mystery, a team of researchers at London's Francis Crick Institute conducted a mice study dubbed as the "alcoholic weekend experiment." Although they observed the effects on rodents, Drexel University College of Medicine's neurobiology assistant professor Jessica R. Barson, who was not involved in the study, pointed out that the researchers looked at the same neurons both humans and mice have.

For the study, the researchers injected same amounts of alcohol to a group of mice for three days. To see the contrast, they injected saline solution for three days, three days prior to alcohol injections. The animal subjects were also given access to equal amounts of water and food for the whole duration.

While the team observed the rodents' brain activities during the experiment, they discovered that the alcohol injections activated the Agrp neurons, which are responsible for inducing feeding behaviors. These neurons were not influenced by saline injections.

Furthermore, the mice stopped overeating when the researchers artificially obstructed the neural activity.

On why drunken people binge on greasy food, research team member Gary Wittert, head of the School of Medicine at Adelaide University, explained the preference.

He told ABC News: "There are lots of pathways involved in regulating particular food choices and I think that it's quite feasible and believable and probable that there are pathways that also involve selections of particular kinds of foods, whether they're more salty foods or whether they're more sugary foods or whether they're more fatty foods, which I think is particularly the case here."

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