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You Asked: Why Do Hangovers Make Me Hungry?

You're asking, and I'm answering.

Dear Fit,

I've noticed that on a day after a night of heavy drinking, whether I'm hungover or not, I tend to be ravenously hungry. I know that people joke about "hangover foods," but for me, it's not just craving greasy treats. I actually just feel insatiably hungry. Why is this?

— Hungry and Hungover

To see the answer,


Ah, yes. As if the headache weren't bad enough, you also have to worry about a hangover interfering with your healthy eating habits. Before I started researching this answer, I assumed it had something to do with blood sugar, and indeed, blood sugar takes the blame for postparty hunger pangs.

Alcohol, as we know, is high in carbohydrates, and drinking heavily can temporarily decrease your blood-sugar levels. Basically, alcohol throws your blood sugar out of whack, and your body spends the next day trying to readjust, leading to increased hunger.

Here's what else I've been able to figure out from my research. When you drink, your liver is so busy metabolizing the alcohol that it neglects to produce glucose like it usually does. It's especially bad if you're drinking on an empty stomach, because then the drop in blood sugar is even more dramatic, resulting in ravenous hunger. In addition, drinking inhibits the production of a stimulant called glutamine, so the next day, when you've dropped drinking, your body churns out more glutamine than it needs. The resultant overstimulation may also contribute to increased hunger.

I'm no doctor, so that's about as much as I've been able to figure out, and it makes sense to me. Got your own knowledge of the subject? Share it below.


Join The Conversation
Advah Advah 9 years
Imcs - you don't need to binge drink to be 'hungover to the point of being hungry'. :) I read Fitsugar and enjoy the posts, but that didn't make me want to switch to 50 mins of running a day! Depending on what you ate or didn't, and what you drank, or whether you drink often, you can get that starving feeling/dizzy head the next day even if you lead a healthy life and had only 2 glasses on an empty stomach. :)
arcticpuppet arcticpuppet 9 years
it's a good thing I don't drink. :]
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Oooooh Lovely_1...I hear ya! Those I save for the occasional "healthy food day off" ;)
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I've been able to prevent hangovers a few different ways. I know my limit, and since I HATE that "uh oh, past my limit" feeling...I almost never drink more than my limit allows. I also drink a lot of water...maybe a glass of water for every drink...that seems to help. And I've found that I get the worst hangovers from sugary drinks. So I don't drink any fruity mixed drinks. I stick to red wine or my drink of choice: vodka, ice, and a lime wedge :) If I DO get a hangover, usually a humongous glass of water and a healthy dose of Ibuprophen does the trick.
tatsauce tatsauce 9 years
It's awful but I get hangovers a lot probably because I reach my limit and then go past it, yikes! Good morning toilet water! If I know I'll be drinking a lot, I'll eat lots of Chinese food and then dance it off later!
Crisonce Crisonce 9 years
ooh i will have to try the chaser now! thanks
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
You have to be consistent and take another dose of chaser if you drink a lot(more than 4 reg drinks). PLUS...a "drink" is a reg beer/sm glass of wine/sm.cocktail....some bars serve larger size drinks and if you drink those, you would have to take even more chaser.
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years dont have to drink water with Chaser. It says "take two pills with your first drink"...and then to take two for every four drinks you have. :D
hollitosway hollitosway 9 years
I've read the directions on Chaser pills and from what I remember they specify that you drink 2 glasses of water with each set of pills every 2 hours, so I think you really are benefiting from the extra water. Also, I've tried it myself and still had one hell of a hangover the next day.
AMP AMP 9 years
I'm the same way, I can't stop eating the day after being drunk. Its like I can't get physically full no matter who much I eat.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
they don't make me hungry, just the opposite.
ashattack16 ashattack16 9 years
When I've been drinking the night before I can't eat anything the next day. It's weird how different we all react.
Crisonce Crisonce 9 years
this is so me! i'm so hungry i can't think about anything else after i drink!
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years works. Both my husband and I take it and it works for us. I first heard about it on Howard then when I was at GNC I saw it right on the front i bought it. Works!! There's nothing harmful in it. Here's from chaser's website.... "Chaser is made of specially processed calcium carbonate and charcoal. These two ingredients attract and absorb hangover-causing toxins and then safely pass them out of your system. The Chaser hangover treatment acts like a filter to keep the toxins that cause your morning-after distress safely out of your system."
jenni_po jenni_po 9 years
Wow, novaraen, does that stuff really work? Is it safe to take that much of it? What's in it? I definitely agree with staggering alcoholic drinks with water; it helps the hangover and keeps you hydrated, not to mention saves the wallet a little because you'll really end up drinking less. I have to agree with mondaymoos, too... without being able to let loose a little on the weekends, I would go nuts from all of the work and workouts during the week! It's okay to reward yourself. It's allll about balance after all :].
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
What helps me is to drink water in between my alcoholic drinks. That and I LOVE Chaser...when i take it i NEVER have a hangover. :D It can be found at most health food a red and yellow container/box. Seriously...i swear by the stuff. You take two tablets for every four drinks. No hangover. done! :D
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
All work and no play make Erin a grumpy, burnt-out girl, imcs. Without my Friday night boozefest to relax, I doubt I'd stay on track with my workout schedule.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Good thing that when I drink I cant help but feel hyper and dance dance dance
imcs imcs 9 years
Ladies... not to be a preacher, but drinking is not good for you to begin with... add to that the hunger and the extra calories you're adding to your body through the alcohol and exess food the next day, and I swear... as fitness enthusiasts (and I only guess at this b/c you're reading fitsugar) you should all know better than to binge drink (to the point of starvation the next day).
Melissa-Rae Melissa-Rae 9 years
Drinking dooms my diet. No joke. If I were to stop drinking altogether, I'd drop like 15 pounds easily.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i could really benefit from some help on how to deal with this! i honestly felt so sick at 6am after 2 hours of sleep on sunday, and yet i was sitting there forcing granola bars into my tummy because i was SO HUNGRY i couldnt sleep!
skigurl skigurl 9 years
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I love eating McDicks when I am hungover :)
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