The Science Is Out On Why We Get The Drunk Munchies

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We’ve all been there: the lights slowly fade up, Semisonic plays over the speakers, and the bouncer one-by-one kicks every drunkard out of the local bar. It’s closing time and where are you going to go? Chances are you’re heading straight to the local pizza shop, according to new research published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion.

A collaborative team of researchers across four North American universities set out to find what sort of drunk munchies – known as “drunchies” – college students were chowing down on, as well as how drinking affected their dietary decisions. According to lead researcher Jessica Kruger, the amount of blood glucose in the body can rise and fall after drinking, stimulating the brain to feel hungry.

Nearly 300 students at a midwestern public university completed an anonymous online survey with general questions about their diet. Later in the survey, participants were asked how often they ate something before bed after drinking alcohol and what they ate. They were also asked what they ate for their first meal following a night of binge drinking.

Kruger says all alcohol drinkers were more likely to eat something salty, fatty, or unhealthy before they went to bed. Naturally, pizza took precedence over greens and other vegetables they would normally eat. On the other hand, they were less likely to drink water, which could worsen the effects of dehydration. 

As for the next day, participants reported being less likely to skip meals the morning after and favored junk food over traditional healthy breakfast options, possibly from common misconceptions about how to get over a hangover. 

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