Is Loneliness Making You Eat More?
Ever find yourself taking a look through your cupboards for snacks on a lazy day at home even though you just ate? Turns out, you should call a friend instead of the chips calling you.
A new study published in Hormones and Behavior found that lonely women felt hungrier after a meal than women with a strong social group did.
In their research, psychologists at Ohio State University measured women's levels of ghrelin, a hormone that regulates hunger. Once you complete a meal, your ghrelin levels fall and then steadily rise, which is what drives you to eat the next meal. However, in the study, women who reported feeling isolated showed the fastest and highest spikes of ghrelin and reported feeling hungrier that their more socially active peers.
Feelings of loneliness actually cause women to feel physical hunger - regardless of whether or not your caloric needs have been met. It all boils down to the need for social connection being fundamental to human nature. Therefore hunger can be a result of social disconnect.
This connection to food is important, especially for people who already feel prone to emotional eating. The researchers point out that sometimes it can be more important to figure out why we're eating rather than to focus on what.
So the next time you're hungry - why not call a friend and chat?