Stimulation of appetite by alcohol

Physiol Behav. 2001 Oct;74(3):283-9. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(01)00598-4.


To investigate the effects of alcohol on appetite and food intake, 26 males attended the laboratory on three occasions. On each occasion, they were given a standard breakfast. Visual analog scale ratings of hunger, desire to eat and fullness (appetite ratings) were recorded from before breakfast until their return to the laboratory for lunch. Thirty minutes before lunch, subjects either rested (baseline), were given 330 ml of a no-alcohol lager (264 kJ: no-alcohol condition) or 330 ml of the same lager spiked with 3 units of alcohol (24 g ethyl alcohol; total energy=969 kJ: alcohol condition). Ratings of appetite were taken before and after the preload or baseline rest period and again before and hourly after lunch. The test meal at lunch consisted of a buffet-style array of foods and chilled water. Ad libitum intake at lunch (excluding energy from alcohol) was significantly higher following alcohol (7301+/-442 kJ) compared to both baseline (6365+/-334 kJ) and the no-alcohol conditions (6479+/-289 kJ). Appetite ratings failed to demonstrate any differences between alcohol and the no-alcohol condition. Total energy intake (including energy from alcohol) was enhanced in the alcohol condition by 30%, suggesting that energy from alcohol is not compensated in the short-term and may even have a stimulatory effect on food intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Satiety Response / drug effects
  • Stimulation, Chemical