Drinking Alcohol Leads to Overeating

March 19, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. misconception /ˌmɪs kənˈsɛp ʃən / (n.) – an idea that is believed to be true, but is actually false
Example: The idea that skipping meals will make you lose weight is a common misconception.

2. intoxication / ɪnˌtɒk sɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – state of being drunk
Example: Alcohol intoxication can lead to serious health problems.

3. sober /ˈsoʊ bər / (adj.) – being unaffected by alcohol
Example: Some people tend to eat more when sober.

4. satiated /ˈseɪ ʃiˌeɪ tɪd / (adj.) – full or not hungry
Example: He felt satiated after having a heavy meal.

5. consider / kənˈsɪd ər / (v.) – to evaluate something before coming to a decision or action plan
Example: According to experts, people should consider what they eat while drinking to avoid feeling bloated. 


Read the text below.
Scientists have found a link between drinking alcohol and overeating.

A popular misconception suggests that overeating when drunk results from a lack of self-discipline. However, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London discovered a biological link between intoxication and overeating.

To test the hypothesis, the scientists conducted a three-day experiment on mice. During the experiment, the mice were given ethanol, the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Before and after consuming ethanol, the mice were given saline, a salt and water solution used for rehydration.

Results of the experiment revealed that the appetite of the mice increased after they were given ethanol compared to when they were sober.

University of Adelaide Professor Gary Wittert, who was not part of the research, found the results unexpected. This is because alcohol contains seven kilocalories per gram and a person should feel satiated after drinking it. However, the study found that alcohol triggers hunger-promoting brain cells known as Agouti / əˈgu ti /-related peptide (AgRP) neurons, which are present in the brains of mammals such as mice and humans. The scientists confirmed the validity of their findings by blocking the activity of these neurons in some of the mice, which consequently eliminated overeating brought about by alcohol.

In line with the findings, Wittert recommends that people consider what they eat during a drinking session. According to him, the body cannot store alcohol, so the only way to get rid of it is to use it as energy. Since the body will use alcohol instead of fat as its energy source, any food that is eaten during or after a drinking session will be stored in the body.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that drinking alcohol leads to overeating?
·         Aside from overeating, what are other effects of drinking alcohol?

Discussion B

·         What activities (e.g. physical activity, sleeping, etc.) should be done in moderation? Discuss.
·         What can we do to ensure that these activities are done in moderation?

March 19, 2017