Drunchies — the reason Burger King stays open for 24 hours, the reason Cheesie’s exists, the reason the pizza at the Deuce tastes so damn good, and the only feasible reason why anyone would willingly consume the popcorn at The Keg (R.I.P.).
We all know the feeling: that inescapable craving for something greasy, salty and loaded with calories — that moment when you kiss self-control goodbye and dive into a delicious cheeseburger or go to town on some chocolate chip cookies. But why does binge-drinking lead to binge-eating? Despite its prevalence on college campuses, not much conclusive research has been done on drunchies, but here are some theories.
Theory 1: The calories in alcohol aren’t recognized by your body. Even though you are consuming (a lot of) calories when you drink, your body doesn’t register them as “real” calories. Therefore despite being full, you don’t feel full, leading to your quest for satiation. This is because alcohol is treated like sugar when it’s metabolized in your body. When you consume alcohol, your body responds by releasing insulin, which allows it to store the calories from alcohol as fat and then quickly bring blood sugar levels back to normal. This sudden drop in blood sugar levels can lead to an increased desire for sugar, causing you to eat or drink even more — a vicious cycle.
Theory 2: Your willpower goes out the window.This one seems pretty obvious. As college students, we are engaged in a perpetual battle between restraint and indulgence. Should I study for another hour or catch up on Game of Thrones? Go to the gym or take a nap? Eat a candy bar or an apple? With a few alcoholic drinks, it is easy to relinquish self-control. A grilled cheese stuffed with bacon and chicken tenders? Yes, please. Fried pickles on the side? Absolutely! Wash it all down with a large Coke? Why not?
Theory 3: Food actually tastes better. Studies found that alcohol consumption actually improves the taste of foods with high salt and fat content. It’s simple science: Doritos Locos Tacos taste good. Doritos Locos Tacos after a night of drinking? Incredible.
What can you do about it?
Trying to ignore your hunger may actually cause you to eat more. Instead, make healthier choices that will satisfy your cravings.
|When you want…||You should have…|
|Deep dish pizza||A cheese quesadilla|
|Chicken nuggets||Grilled chicken sandwich|
|Dessert||A bowl of cereal|
|French fries||A baked potato|
Alcohol is dehydrating, so after a night out your body needs fluids. Drinking water before bed can prevent a hangover, and it could also satisfy your hunger. Studies have shown that thirst can be mistaken for hunger since the neurological signals for thirst are very similar to those that indicate hunger.
Distract or Sleep
Sometimes our cravings are instigated by being around other people who are eating. If you’re not actually hungry, distract yourself by engaging in conversation, or just call it a night and hit the hay.