Strawberry Martini

Is That Martini Making Me Eat More?

That strawberry martini might be giving you extra calories in more ways than one. Not only does each martini give you a little more than 150 calories, new research published in Obesity suggests that it may lead you to eat more by heightening your physiologic response to food aromas.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine used functional MRI scanning to evaluate the effects of alcohol on brain activity in response to the aroma of roast beef or Italian meat sauce. They found a heightened response to food odors after women received an alcohol injection versus a placebo injection. Levels of ghrelin (the so-called hunger hormone) and food consumption were significantly higher as well.

This research explains something that food and wine connoisseurs have known for some time. Put the two together and you have a more pleasurable meal. And now we know why. Alcohol heightens your brain’s response to food cues. More hunger, more pleasure, more food — it all adds up to the potential for more weight gain when you combine food and alcohol.

Martin Binks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Obesity Society, explained that the study provides a deeper understanding of how this interaction works:

This research helps us to further understand the neural pathways involved in the relationship between food consumption and alcohol. Often, the relationship between alcohol on eating is oversimplified; this study unveils a potentially more complex process in need of further study.

So, the alcohol doesn’t do it all, but it sure does help to move you down a path you might not want to follow too far. Knowledge is power.

Click here to read the study and here to read more from the LA Times.

Strawberry Martini, photograph © daspunkt / flickr

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