There’s no denying the SheBrisbane ladies familiarity with wine and cheese and we often do wonder why you can’t have one without the other.
Well, a recent article by the ABC reported that scientists at London’s Francis Crick Institute found there could be a scientific reason.
They discovered that the specific brain cells or neurons which stimulate the urge to eat can be activated by alcohol as well as by hunger.
“The alcohol is active in the brain on a group of nerve cells in the area of the brain that regulates food intake, and these nerve cells make a protein called agouti-related proteins — so they are AgRP neurons,” said Gary Wittert, the head of the School of Medicine at Adelaide University.
“And when these neurons make this protein, they regulate food intake and alcohol is modulating the effect of these neurons so as to increase food intake.”
In an experiment, mice subjected to a three-day “alcoholic weekend” — the equivalent of 18 standard drinks — were found to eat significantly more food than their sober counterparts.
The researchers found that blocking the activity of the hunger-promoting neurons in some of the mice eliminated alcohol-induced overeating.
Professor Wittert, who was not involved in the research, said the findings are surprising, considering alcohol is calorie dense and should in theory suppress appetite signals.
“Alcohol itself is seven kilocalories per gram, so you’re getting quite a large calorie load from drinking alcohol.
“It can’t be stored, the only way you can dispose of alcohol is to metabolise it for energy, and so that means that anything that you’re eating at the same time or shortly afterwards is going to be preferentially stored.
“So the food choices that you make of course are going to then matter.”
See? It’s not our fault we gravitate towards cheese post wine o’clock. It’s our brain!