What’s Your Tipping Point?
April 28, 2014

What’s Your Tipping Point?

If you have ever found yourself craving food after a little too much alcohol, you may have unwittingly passed the “tipping point.” This is the moment when the booze takes control of your brain and drives you towards the nearest pile of readily available calories. As the saying goes, you could eat a dead donkey. In the absence of said beast, or any other roadkill freebie, you are likely to end up eating quick, satisfying, alcohol-sponging carbs with a smattering of fat and flavouring. Bad food seems to be the norm, if a new survey by the UK’s fat busting group Slimming World is to be believed. The demon drink that got you to this point in the first place is already full of calories. The food you are driven to piles on more, and, according to the survey’s respondents, there’s every chance you are going to gorge on more goodies the next morning as you try to kill the hangover. The end result could be a whopping 6,300 “extra” calories. Now that is really going to feel like you’ve swallowed a dead donkey, or at least its head. Coupled with post-binging lethargy, this means a possible extra two pounds in weight. Do this weekly and it’s 104 pounds a year. Do it for 20 years and you could end up auditioning for the lead role in a future remake of Free Willy.

Scientists have suggested that there is a mechanism by which alcohol consumption triggers increased appetite. It is a double whammy, as the drink not only makes food more enjoyable and therefore more attractive, it suppresses our sensation of being full. That has not prevented more elaborate suggestions for the grog/grub connection. There has been a long-standing urban myth in Britain that somehow the brewers and the legions of Indian curry house owners are in cahoots. The theory goes like this: The curry makers pay the brewers to add something to the beer that makes the drinker crave a curry. The lager swillers head to the Indian restaurant, boosting the profits as they satisfy their cravings with Kormas, Vindaloos, or Chicken Tikka Masalas (now reckoned to be Britain’s most popular dish). Then the chilli kicks in, fuelling additional cooling lager requirements. Everyone’s a winner. It’s an interesting idea, but clearly dumb, although I can personally attest to a mysterious beer/curry craving in my younger days. I think this was more of a Pavlovian response than a result of any corporate conspiracy. Having succumbed to many a spicy Indian meal after a night out, I think my body just got used to the sequence. “I’ve had my beer, now where’s my curry?” it seemed to say.

So what’s your tipping point? Well, the survey found that it was 10.5 units for men and eight for women. Chips – fries – were the most popular first choice, possibly because they are the most common junk food on the high street. Next, in descending order, were pizza, kebab, and burger, or possibly all of the above at once.

Hardly a scientific survey, more of a gathering of anecdotal evidence, this research nevertheless points to a potential problem for those who want to control their weight but still enjoy a tipple. You can check your own tipping point on the Slimming World website. Alternatively, you can do it empirically by drinking for real tonight and watching where it takes you but please note – this option is not endorsed by redOrbit!

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Eric Hopton is a writer, musician, artist, and photographer. He has a degree in Social Anthropology and has always been passionate about travel, having so far visited 73 countries. His music and sound work has been used in many projects around the world and can be heard on Bandcamp and Freesound, where he has contributed over 1,300 sounds under his sonic alter ego, ERH.

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