Got the ‘drunchies’? New study shows how heavy drinking affects diet

They’re called the “drunchies,” or drunk munchies. It’s the desire one has to eat salty, fatty, unhealthy foods during or after a night of heavy drinking.

With obesity continuing to rise in America, researchers decided to look at a sample of college students to better understand how drinking affects what they eat, both that night and for their first meal the next day when, most likely, they’re hungover. It should come as no surprise that they’re not eating kale smoothies and fresh oranges at 4 a.m.

“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,” says Jessica Kruger, clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Kruger, PhD, is the lead author on a newly published paper that examines heavy episodic drinking and dietary choices while drinking and on the following day.

Kruger and her colleagues from the University of Michigan, University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University, conducted their study on a sample of 286 students at a large public university in the Midwest. (The study, published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion,Download pdfdid not receive any federal funding.)

Research on the effects of drinking and diet is scarce, Kruger said, adding that eating more unhealthy foods following alcohol consumption is an often overlooked behavior in traditional addiction research.

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