Page last updated: April 20, 2015
Moderate alcohol consumption stimulates food intake and food reward of savoury foods

A study investigated whether food reward plays a role in the stimulating effect of moderate alcohol consumption on subsequent food intake. In addition, the authors explored the role of oral and gut sensory pathways in alcohol’s effect on food reward by modified sham feeding (MSF) or consumption of a preload after alcohol intake.

In a single-blind crossover design, 24 healthy men were randomly assigned to either consumption of vodka/orange juice (20 g alcohol) or orange juice only, followed by consumption of cake, MSF of cake or no cake. Food reward was evaluated by actual food intake measured by an ad libitum lunch 45 min after alcohol ingestion and by behavioural indices of wanting and liking of four food categories (high fat, low fat, sweet and savoury).

Moderate alcohol consumption increased food intake during the ad libitum lunch by 11% (+338 kJ). Alcohol specifically increased intake (+127 kJ) and explicit liking of high-fat savoury foods. Moreover, moderate alcohol consumption increased implicit wanting for savoury and decreased implicit wanting for sweet before the meal. Explicit wanting of low-fat savoury foods only was higher after alcohol followed by no cake as compared to after alcohol followed by cake MSF, but not as compared to alcohol followed by cake consumption. Both cake MSF and cake consumption had no overall effect on behavioural indices of food reward.

Moderate alcohol consumption therefore increased subsequent food intake, specifically of high-fat savoury foods, the authors conclude. This effect was related to the higher food reward experienced for savoury foods. The importance of oral and gut sensory signalling in alcohol’s effect on food reward remains largely unclear.

Source: Moderate alcohol consumption stimulates food intake and food reward of savoury foods. Ilse C. Schrieks, Annette Stafleu, Sanne Griffioen-Roose, Cees de Graaf, Renger F. Witkamp, Rianne Boerrigter-Rijneveld, Henk F.J. Hendriks. Appetite. Volume 89, 1 June 2015, Pages 77–83.

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