It’s a well-known fact that people often eat more immediately-satisfying foods, such as pizza, when they’ve been drinking than they might otherwise consume. Anyone who has ever worked in a bar or spent enough time in one as a customer can tell you this.
While they may have theories as to why this is, they probably can’t tell you the scientific reason behind this phenomenon. A recent study has shed some more light on why pizza is one of the most popular bar foods and why it’s a good idea for a bar to keep frozen pizzas on hand for customers who start to feel the effects of alcohol on the hunger sensors in our brains.
Let’s take a deeper look.
There is research that shows the existence of the aperitif effect, in which people tend to overeat after drinking alcohol, but it had not been entirely understood until now. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications has shown just what triggers that effect.
The study involved looking at the effects of alcohol consumption on food intake with a group of mice. (Mice were used since mouse brains function similarly to human brains in ways that are relevant for this study.) The mice were each injected with the same amount of alcohol over a period of three days. A control group was not injected with alcohol for comparison purposes.
All the mice were given access to the same amount of food and water. It was discovered that the mice who had the alcohol injections ate significantly more food on those days. This was not entirely unexpected, but the reason was not fully understood. To find out why, researchers had to take a deep look at the brain chemistry of the mice.
What they found in those mouse brains was that certain brain cells that usually promote hunger were activated after the mice were injected with alcohol. These brain cells, called AgRP neurons, were not activated in the control group. What’s even more interesting is that when those neurons were artificially inhibited by the researchers, the mice stopped overeating. This points to the activation of these neurons, which was accomplished after the mice received alcohol, as a key factor in the cause of the aperitif effect.
You may have felt this effect yourself as a human when you get a craving for something satisfying like hot pizza after having a few drinks. But those drinks are full of calories, so shouldn’t that naturally make us full? Researchers had the same question about mice. It turns out that the alcohol may sustain what they called false starvation alarms in the brain. In other words, the mice still felt hungry even though their bodies were getting calories from the alcohol.
What does this all mean for you as a bar owner or bartender? It means that there is scientific proof that drinking alcohol makes us want to eat. If you’re ready to take advantage of the knowledge that science has given us and you want to stock your bar with easy-to-prepare frozen pizzas, contact Giovanni’s Frozen Pizza today.