A new study out of Indiana University School of Medicine’s Departments of Medicine and Neurology and published in the forthcoming issue of medical journal Obesity confirms that it’s not all in our heads—food actually tastes better when you’ve been drinking.
The study breaks down like this: William JA Eiler II, PhD, invited 35 females to a study where they were intravenously given alcohol on one visit and saline on the other. To test how hungry they got, an MRI scan measured brain response to plates of food passed in front of their noses, and two-thirds of the drunk women ate more than those who only had salt-water.
This phenomenon, in addition to being colloquially known as the “drunchies,” is also called the “aperitif effect.” However, this study was the first of its kind to show that said palate-whetting isn’t dependent on literally drinking the alcohol—and thus on its absorption through your digestive system. It’s the alcohol itself, combined with your brain chemistry, that does the trick.
But beware the ides of drunk-snacking! “Many alcoholic beverages already include empty calories, and when you combine those calories with the aperitif effect, it can lead to energy imbalance and possibly weight gain,” Dr. Eiler warned in a statement.