Time to rethink that pre-dinner drink

26th Jul 2015

Could that pre-dinner glass of wine really make you more hungry? That’s what a new study suggests as alcohol focuses the brain’s attention on food aromas.

Robert Considine, one of the study’s author says, “The joke is, every restaurant knows that if they give you a drink first, you’ll eat more.”

In his study, using MRI brain scans, they found that alcohol made the hypothalamus of the brain area more focused on food aromas versus other types of odors. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that helps control hunger.

While the findings don’t mean that weight-watchers can’t enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, it does speak to the complexity of appetite regulation, including the role of alcohol.

More research needs to be done, as only women participated in this study. Men and women respond to food aromas somewhat differently, so it was best to study the sexes separately.

It’s also important to realize the alcohol contains a lot of calories. For some people it might also boost food intake. Overall, we do a lot of absent-minded eating. Just be aware that alcohol can encourage that.