So in the spirit of Weird, !SCIENCE! brings us another “WTF, Mother Nature?!!”
That contradiction starts with our bizarre need to eat after Animal House-level symphonies of drinking…
Why Does Binge-Drinking Make Us Binge-Eat?:
So we’ve already got enough calories from the alcohol, right?
Most of the time, the non-professionals among us don’t even drink on an empty stomach.
And the things we do involving calorie-intake are usually followed-up by… Feeling Full, and not needing to have any more food/drink.
This is not some fluke of our gut-physiology, the nerve between the gut & the brain actually sends signals that suppress appetite neurologically.
So Are Drunchies From Mars, Just Like Men?:
So back in that other entry, we thought it might have had something to do with increased salt-levels.
These might be caused by alcohol-dehydration, upping the concentration in our organs and elevating hunger.
Similar to what more salt did back in that Mars Mission Weight-Loss Trick entry.
But that doesn’t seem like the answer for now.
Mother Nature Made A Special Part Of The Brain, Just To Betray You:
So in the experiment, researchers gave the mice the equivalent of 2 bottles of wine a day for 3 days in a row.
By the 2nd day, the intoxicated mice started eating significantly more than the non-boozy ones.
And it all comes down to one special type of brain-cell.
After testing everything they could find, researchers found cells called AGRP.
And They Found Out Where They Are & What They Do:
During more targeted experiments, they simulated exactly what drinking gets us: alcohol on the brain.
And BOOM!, the indicators on these types of cells that live right in the center of our appetite, thirst, & sleep-centers, lit up like christmas trees after exposure to alcohol.
When that happened, they immediately sent out tons of False Starvation Alarms to the rest of appetite-city.
-In complete violation of every signal the vagus nerve sends from the stomach saying, “We’ve had plenty of food down here, guys! STOP!”
So It’s Not A Tradition, It’s Ancient Wiring:
One of the most stark conclusions the research draws is that The Drunchies are not cultural, or societal.
They are physical brain structures.
Not only that, every mammal most certainly has these circuits, because they’re from a very ancient part of the brain that’s been passed down to everything from pygmy mice to great-apes.
(unless your name is Ozzy)
The Boozy Future Of Weight-Loss Hacks:
As enticing as the spectrum of alcohol is, the real takeaway is for the improvement of Weight-Loss and Weight-Related Disease.
If alcohol on AGRPs puts the starvation-klaxons on blast,
-Then can we do the opposite the way some tests show?
What if we could test people who have weight-problems for abnormal braincenter appetite-cells & give them a drug-cocktail to help fix a condition they may have even been born with?
But that’s much further-out.
Though the conclusions seem easier to reach from here, the next bits of study from the same groups will be on:
1) Why do we go for the heaviest, fattiest food we can after we get the drunchies?
2) What’s the threshold of drinks-per-pound of bodyweight, so that we can avoid them if we want?
There may be some variation in the 2nd one, but after study, those answers should be pretty straightforward.
The real benefit will still come from helping people who seriously need to lose fat, with drugs that are something like a “Lap-Band In a Bottle“.
Stay Tuned & Watch This Space! Until then, check out the rest of the details in the Links:
Photo Credits: publicity poster from the movie, “Strange Brew” by, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Louis M. Silverstein, Steve De Jarnatt, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
Source: Scientific American
Source Study: Nature-Agrp neuron activity is required for alcohol-induced overeating