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Behav Pharmacol. 1999 Mar;10(2):151-61.

Alcohol and the appetizer effect.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


In order to evaluate the effects of alcohol on appetite, 12 unrestrained and 10 restrained men ate lunch 20 min after consuming preloads consisting of water, an alcoholic fruit juice (alcohol) and a non-alcoholic fruit juice (juice). The unrestrained men ate significantly less after the juice preload, and ate most after alcohol. Intake was not altered significantly in the restrained men. However, both the alcohol and juice preloads reduced rated hunger and increased fullness, relative to the water control, in both restrained and unrestrained men. When the relationship between rated appetite and intake within the test meal was modelled mathematically, it was found that hunger increased more during the initial stages of the test meal in the unrestrained men who had consumed alcohol than in any other condition. No such effects were seen in the restrained subjects. Overall, these results suggest that alcohol has a complex action on appetite, which includes some form of appetite stimulation, and this may explain the excess energy intake reported previously in moderate alcohol consumers.

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