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How do I stop overeating when hungover? If you’re asking this question, chances are you’re prone to a hangover feast and know you’ll regret it afterward.
Well, you’re not alone. Overeating when hungover is very common and can leave you feeling worse than the hangover itself.
But why do you overeat when hungover and how can you stop it?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how alcohol affects the body and how that can lead to insatiable hunger. After that, we’ll move on to all the things you can do to stop overeating.
How does alcohol make you hungry the next day?
The science of how alcohol makes you hungry the next day isn’t as you’d think. There are many different factors that come into play.
Next up, we’ll go over the four reasons why alcohol makes you so hungry the next day.
1) Binge drinking drops blood sugar levels
Binge drinking is defined by CDC as more than 5 drinks in men and 4 in women. That said, this number varies between individuals because it massively depends on your metabolism, age, and weight. But generally speaking, these numbers are a good benchmark.(1)
Drinking more than this in a single sitting wreaks havoc on your hormonal systems. In particular, the release of insulin which controls your blood glucose.
It’s well-known that binge drinking can drop blood sugar levels. And it’s thought to be because alcohol disrupts insulin release as well as your cells’ sensitivity to it.(2)(3)
2) Alcohol stimulates appetite
Several studies have shown that drinking alcohol makes you more hungry. Scientists have shown that giving even small amounts of alcohol stimulates your appetite.(4)(5)
Perhaps this partly explains why many of us binge after a night out.
With that said, the fact that alcohol stimulates appetite may be less relevant when hungover. Because by the time you’re hungover, we can assume that it’s been several hours since your last drink.
3) You haven’t eaten a meal for some time
The simplest reason why you’re so hungry when hungover is simply that you haven’t eaten for a long time.
Let’s face it, if you’ve been out all night, the chances are you’ve not had a proper meal for a while. You may have had a light dinner, then partied all night, and then by the time you’ve woken up it’s approaching the afternoon.
No wonder you’re overeating when hungover. You’ve not had any proper food for so long!
Binge eating when hungover – Why it happens
So, why do you binge / overeat when hungover?
As we discussed in the points mentioned above, drinking too much alcohol leaves you in a fragile state. Naturally, you’re going to feel hungry in the morning.
In addition, you’re probably feeling worse for wear and any boost of endorphins (aka happy hormones) will help make you feel at least a little better in the short term. And for all of us, a tasty meal is exactly what triggers the release of these hormones.
In summary, overeating when hungover isn’t necessarily abnormal. It happens to most of us and is brought on by hunger, low blood sugar levels, and hormonal imbalances.
How to stop overeating when hungover
So, now on to the all-important question. How do you stop overeating when hungover?
The easy answer would be to exercise self-control. But we’re all human and it’s not as simple as that right?
That’s we’ve put together a list of practical steps to help you stop overeating when hungover below.
1) Start off with a sugary drink
As we mentioned earlier, your blood sugars may be low in the morning if you’ve had a few too many at happy hour. Instead of going straight for a big meal, try sipping on a sugary drink first.
Something like a fruit juice would do the job. Not only will it help rehydrate you, but it also provides you with a quick sugar hit.
The sugar in your drink is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream and doesn’t need to be broken down first by stomach acid and intestinal enzymes. In fact, sugar is absorbed within a few seconds of hitting of your stomach and this should give your body something to work with before you move onto a proper meal.
2) Stick to carb-rich foods
It’s common to crave greasy foods when hungover as they are the most calorie-rich and tasty. Your brain is looking for as much energy as it can get in one go.
But research has shown that simple carbohydrates are as filling as a fatty alternative. In fact, one study showed that plain boiled potatoes are seven times more filling than a croissant. Even though the croissant is made from lots of butter.(6)
Carbohydrate-rich foods are a good starting point because they are broken down easily in your digestive tract to form glucose which is then rapidly absorbed. Whereas fatty/protein-rich food takes a lot longer to digest. Other examples of carbohydrate-rich food include pasta and rice dishes.
you can read more about this topic in our article about greasy foods for hangovers.
We all know that rehydration is key when hungover. However, it could help stop you from overeating as well.
Rehydration mixes are a great way to support rapid hydration as well as provide your body with some essential minerals. Some of them also contain a small amount of sugar which, as mentioned above, also helps.
For more info on this topic, check out our article about how to rehydrate quickly after drinking.
4) Take it slow
This one’s an obvious point, but nevertheless very important for us to mention. The best way to stop overeating when hungover is to start with a sugary drink, then after 10-15 minutes, move on to a carbohydrate-rich food as mentioned above.
Start off with small portions and then see how you feel thereafter. The likelihood is you’ll realize that you’re actually more full than you think, which will set you up right for the day ahead.
Anything else to consider?
The best way to stop overeating when hungover is to prevent getting a hangover in the first place. It’s a sign from your body that you’re body has been pushed too far.
Aside from drinking less alcohol, the best way to reduce the risk of a hangover are to drink plenty of water, eat before going out and avoid caffeinated mixers.
Overeating when hungover – Takeaway points
That brings us to the end of our look into why we overeat when hungover and everything you can do to stop it.
Ultimately, the best way to stop overeating when hungover is to prevent a hangover from happening in the first place. But if it’s too late and you need some tips right now, follow the steps above to stop yourself from binging.
Now that you know what the best tips to stop overeating are, check out our article on good hangover foods for more information on what meal to choose in the morning.