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Hungry after drinking alcohol? Here’s why…

Posted on : 06-10-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Behaviours, Die hard habits, For the boys, Unhealthy



Artery clogging bacon and eggs sizzled in the fry-pan and the tea-pot was full and steaming, ready for it’s rehydrating task. It was the morning after the night before! “Why am I always starving after a big night?” our friend asked. He looked remarkably perky considering how much alcohol and how little sleep he’d had.

It’s a good question. What makes us so hungry after a drinking binge? It’s hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. So why doesn’t all the sugar in alcohol keep your blood sugar up? It’s because the body doesn’t think of alcohol as food but as a toxin that needs to be got rid of. Alcohol causes havoc with our blood sugar levels. With the first drink or two the alcohol and sugar rush into the blood rocketing the blood sugar sky high. This sends an urgent message to the pancreas: “Blood sugar too high, deploy insulin“. The insulin marches into the blood and escorts the sugar out. As the drinking continues the liver goes into ‘poison elimination’ mode. Its number one mission: to remove all toxins from the body. All other duties are scaled down or put on hold – including sending sugar into the blood to balance the zealous efficiency of the insulin troops. By this time you may be flaked out in bed trying to sleep it off but your body is far from resting.

You wake up with blood shot eyes. That’s from the alcohol increased blood pressure bursting tiny blood vessels in the eye. You wonder how you got home. That’s from the alcohol starving the brain of oxygen and killing off a few ten thousand or so brain cells. Your muscles ache. That’s from the alcohol starving them of oxygen – or perhaps it’s from when you tripped down the stairs! You’re tired and have a splitting headache. That’s your dehydrated body begging for water. And you are HUNGRY.

Come and have breakfast. A nice cup of tea and some eggs on toast. Skip the bacon – you’ve already got enough extra fat floating around in your blood from last night. Bon appétit!

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Comments (5)

Good article. Thank you.

Thanks, Jas. Blessings!!

Very interesting. Nice to be able to read an explanation of what’s going on without being blinded my science. Thanks!

Just one query on your explanation. I’ve read on several sites that alcohol lowers your blood pressure. Is this the case or not?

Hi Glyn, I have read no research that alcohol lowers blood pressure. I have seen articles that link moderate alcohol intake and the antioxidant resveratrol in red wine with an increase in HDL cholesterol but it is a long bow to draw to then say that this might lower blood pressure. A quote from Dr David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School: ‘You would have to drink a hundred to a thousand glasses of red wine to equal the doses (of resveratrol) that help in mice.’ (Harvard Health Blog May 15, 2014)

There is plenty of research to show that alcohol, especially in large amounts, increases blood pressure. The Australian recommended guideline for healthy people is no more than 2 standard drinks on any day and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one occasion. A standard drink is roughly 100mls wine, a 30ml nip of spirits or 285 ml glass of full strength beer (4.8% alcohol). If you already have high blood pressure, I would expect your doctor might recommend drinking less alcohol than these amounts.

Hope this helps.

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