Since the earliest of times, humans have had a strong desire to consume high-fat foods after drinking alcohol. It is a natural response to feel like you are starving when you are drunk. This phenomenon is also referred to as the drunk munchies, or commonly only as the ‘franchise’. The drunk munchies are typically defined as the “craving to consume large quantities of absorbents after moderate to heavy drinking”. Feeling ravenously hungry is the response of your brain. But why do you crave fatty foods when you are drunk? Let’s take a look.
Why Do You Crave Fatty Foods When You Are Drunk?
The body craves fatty food after a night of moderate to heavy drinking in order to slow down the rate at which the consumed alcohol is getting introduced into the blood. Excessive intake of alcohol also makes you feel pliable to the moment, causing your brain to think you are starving. When you are experiencing the ‘drunchies’, you are likely to have whatever tastes good, such as salty food, fatty foods, and carbs (mostly unhealthy carbs). Your brain does not let you think about all the hard work you have been putting in to maintain your body and your healthy diet. The alcohol lessens the functioning of the larger, outer, thinking-person brain and allows the inner, smaller, drunk brain to make the decisions at that moment.
What Causes the ‘Drunchies’?
Early in 2018, there was a study published in the Nature journal which tried to explain why the brain still thinks that the body is hungry in spite of drinking a calorie-dense substance such as alcohol.
The study looked at the brains of mice and found that AgRP (Agouti-related peptide) neurons get activated during the detoxification phase. AgRP neurons are the special neurons that are present in the front part of the brain that is responsible for hunger, amongst other functions. This is why while under the influence of alcohol, the brain thinks that it is starving.
This is why it is recommended that drinkers should opt for pre-party planning by not keeping unhealthy and tempting foods around so that it becomes difficult to eat unhealthy foods when they won’t be available in the first place. This way, even if you want to eat something, at least you will have some healthier food options available.
Avoiding the ‘Drunchies’
The first step to avoid overeating of junk foods after a drinking session is to remove unhealthy snacks and keep healthy snacks around the house. The more obvious part would be to avoid getting drunk. Drinking in moderation without getting drunk and losing your thinking ability. This will avoid the brain chemistry changes that signal the body to believe it is starving, causing it to overheat.
Another way of handling the ‘drunchies’ is to drink sufficient amount of water and staying hydrated. Try alternating every drink with a glass of water. Remaining hydrated will help you control what food you may choose to eat later.