Alcohol stimulates appetite and impairs self control, study finds

5th January, 2016 by Annie Hayes

A new study has revealed that drinking alcohol stimulates the appetite while lowering self-control, making it harder to resist food cravings.

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The scientists determined that overeating after consuming alcohol is due to impaired self control

The study, published in the journal Health Psychology, saw researchers from the University of Liverpool examine the effects of alcohol on energy intake and dietary restraint on 60 undergraduate females.

Some of the participants were given a vodka and diet lemonade drink, while the others were given a placebo drink manipulated to smell and taste alcoholic.

Both before and after consuming the drinks, the participants were put through a “colour conflict” test to measure inhibitory control.

Here 80 words were presented to the subjects, with red, blue, yellow and green appearing 20 times each, all printed in a contrasting ink colour.

When asked to name out loud the colour that the words were printed in, participants who had consumed the alcoholic drink “performed worse” than the placebo group.

Following this, participants were given chocolate chip cookies and allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted for 15 minutes. Here, the group who had consumed the alcoholic drink ate more than the placebo group.

The scientists determined that this increase in calorie intake was caused by impaired inhibitory control, as demonstrated on the previous test.

The study said: “Taken together, this suggests that rather than alcohol stimulating appetitive food processes, alcohol’s association with increased consumption may work through impairing control over the amount of calories consumed.”

“These findings highlight the role of alcohol consumption as a contributor to weight gain and suggest that further research into the role of restraint in alcohol-induced food consumption is needed.”

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