Acting on Impulse


As they often are, they are doing studies.

This time, the Wall Street Journal reports on how alcohol affects our food-related decision making.  It appears that alcohol consumption creates impulsiveness that might add to our waistlines.  Evidently, booze makes us reach for extra food, chips, snacks, salty and crispy things, grease.

When we drink, we engage in reckless behaviour compared to our sober selves.  We eat.  And…we say things we might not have otherwise.  We take risks.  We use poorer judgement.  We might have encounters of the sensual and physical variety. We react more emotionally.

There’s a science to this…but I think we knew this already.  Alcohol and the next day hangover meal – where one might head to McDonalds or a greasy spoon for breakfast – is a ritual for some.  And the street-meat vendors outside the clubs take advantage of our late evening quick reach for grub. Heck, I thought that’s why Mr. Sub would even bother staying open so late…the after-the-bar-closes-down traffic.

Alcohol ignites our limbic system.  This means we are subject to hyper-emotional states, and our memory can be impaired.  Alcohol also affects our cerebral cortex, impairing our senses, and shutting down areas in our brain responsible for reasoning and good judgement.  Is it any wonder we might then reach for the corn chips?


Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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