Ever Get the Drunchies?

Ever Get the Drunchies?

By Trudi Purdy, wlr team

Key Takeaways

  • A night out on the town can turn you (temporarily) into a junk food junkie
  • Food choices continue to be effected the day after
  • Dispelling hangover myths could help promote a healthier diet
  • ‘Drunchies’ is actually a thing

Even when you’re watching your waistline, a night out is sometimes called for.

A new study has highlighted the issue of ’Drunchies’ (drunk munchies).

Let’s take a look at what they found . . .

The Study

Obesity is a problem both home and away and the younger generation are definitely not immune. Researchers decided to take a look at a group of college students on a boozy night out to see if alcohol effected what they ate.

Lead author, Jessica Kruger PhD says,

‘We need to be aware of not only the negative effect of alcohol consumption, but also on the impact it has on what people are eating while they are drinking.’

She says that research on the effects of drinking and diet are scarce but that drinking and eating unhealthy foods often go hand in hand on a night out (and into the next morning).

The study questioned a sample of 286 students at a large public university in America.

The purpose was to look at the students’ dietary choices during a night out and into the next day.

Kruger and her co-author had noticed an ad in a US college newspaper for a fast-food outlet saying,

‘Got the Drunchies?’

The ad was surrounded by other ads for places selling pizza, tacos, etc. All places that are open after closing time.

This inspired the researchers to take a closer look.

What Happens in the Body to Cause The Drunchies?

‘It’s believed that after drinking alcohol, the amount of blood glucose in the body can rise and fall, stimulating the brain to feel hungry.’

Kruger said.

This in turn makes us hunt out something to eat and, if all that is available is unhealthy food, so be it!

More Detail

The participants in the study were asked to complete an anonymous online survey which asked general questions about their eating habits followed by more specific questions about their eating habits after a night out.

They were asked how often they ate something before they went to bed after drinking and what their choice would be.

They were also asked what they would eat the next day.

Kruger says,

‘All alcohol drinkers were more likely to eat something before they went to bed after drinking alcohol than in general before they go to bed.’

And, not surprisingly, they opted for salty snack foods and pizza. Apparently, healthy foods, such as veg, weren’t as appealing – or as accessible.

The researchers noted that the participants didn’t report drinking water before bed and the unhealthy choice of foods continued into the next day.

They were less likely to skip breakfast the next day, possibly due to myths of foods that help cure hangovers – stodgy foods that help ‘soak up’ the alcohol.


We all know that alcohol tends to dissolve any resolve you may have to eat healthily.

Couple that with the fact that the only food outlets open after closing time are fast-food joints and it’s not surprising that these students made unhealthy choices. This study isn’t proving anything that we don’t already know – but it is highlighting the issue.

Have a boozy night out even once a week and the results can be an increase in weight.

But what could you do to help you make better choices?

The first point is maybe not drink quite so much – that would help with the calories consumed during a night out as well as the choices you make when the drunchies hit.

Let’s say on a night out you have 4 pints of lager and 2 slices of pizza on the way home. That comes to approximately 1400 calories.

4 pints lager – 933 calories

2 slices pizza – 484 calories

Total – 1417 calories

Exchange the lager for a gin and slimline tonic, and only have a couple interspersed with diet coke and water and, not only will you be a bit more in control of your urges to eat, but it will be lower in calories full stop.

3 x gin (single 37.5%) and slimline tonic = 228 calories

You could also pre-prepare a BLT sarnie or something similar for when you get home.

Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Club Sandwich = 318 calories

Total consumed = 546 calories

If limiting what you drink isn’t for you, how about planning in advance and save up some calories from the week to use on your night out?

To have your 4 pints and 2 slices of pizza, you would need to save 230 calories a day in the run up. That’s not so bad.

You could do some extra exercise each day and earn yourself some extra calories. Go for a brisk 40 minute walk each day and save those calories for the weekend. (Or, you could go for an extra long walk for 4 hours the day after to cure the hangover and blow the cobwebs away!)

You could also go completely teetotal for the evening and be the designated driver, saving money and calories – not to mention waking up the next day completely hangover free!

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