If you find yourself drawn to the chicken shop after a night out on the town, you’ll be happy to hear that you’re not alone.
A new study has revealed that heavy drinking and junk food cravings go hand-in-hand.
The researchers said: “Obesity and alcoholism, two of the most common chronic disorders in the United States, may be behaviourally linked as binge intake of palatable diets, such as diets high in fat, and binge alcohol intake may utilise the same neurocircuitry.”
In the study, researchers from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine looked at the effects of drinking alcohol on eating habits in three groups of mice.
The first group followed a high-fat diet and had limited access to an alcoholic drink, while the second group followed a normal diet and the same limited access to alcohol.
Finally, the third 'binge' group had limited access to a high-fat diet, and limited access to alcohol.
After eight weeks, the results revealed that the binge diet group showed a weight-gain and loss cycle associated with binge eating.
Those mice also drank more alcohol than water during their access period, showing a clear preference for booze.
Meanwhile, the other groups both drank less alcohol than the binge diet group.
These results suggest that limiting access to junk food promotes binge-like eating patterns, which in turn activates the brain to binge on alcohol.
While the study was carried out in mice, the researchers believe the findings could have important implications for humans.
They added: “Given the increasing rates of binge drinking and overall obesity rates in the U.S. in recent years, we think this new mouse model will be of critical importance in the near future.”