You’re not imagining the munchies that follow a night of drinking, a new study published in the Health Psychology journal says. And that’s because, as researchers now believe, alcohol impairs your inhibitory control, or your ability to stop yourself from doing something, like ordering a pizza for yourself when you get home from the bar.
In the study, 60 undergraduate female students were asked to complete a food craving questionnaire, and then given either alcohol or a placebo that smelled and tasted alcoholic. Participants were then asked to complete another food craving questionnaire and then asked to complete a challenge measuring inhibitory control.
Next, the women were given chocolate chip cookies and told that they could eat as many or as few of the cookies as they wanted. Not surprisingly, the women who were given the real alcohol performed worse on the control test, and ate more cookies than those in the placebo group. The most restrained eaters of the sample, however, were still able to limit their cookie intake.
The study confirms that alcohol consumption does indeed act “as a contributor to weight gain” — news that probably doesn’t surprise you, but does confirm that the drunk version of you makes worse diet decisions than the sober version.