Loneliness Makes You Feel Hungry


You’re binge-watching a lot of TV and posting a lot on Facebook—guess you’re lonely.


Loneliness can be bad for you, in that it makes you hungry.


A study published in Hormones and Behaviour had forty-two participants fast for twelve hours and then visit the psych lab. These particular participants had been recruited from an earlier study where it had been established that they all suffered from extreme loneliness. When they visited the psych lab, the participants had to eat an entire 930 calorie meal (involving eggs, sausage, biscuits, and gravy, because psychology is awesome). Prior to the meal, researchers measured the participants levels of ghrelin, a hormone associated with hunger. They also measured the hormone during the meal and several times in the hours after, during which the participants had to rate their hunger.


The participants who reported feeling lonelier had higher levels of ghrelin sooner, despite eating the same meal as the other participants.

The Takeaway

Maybe there’s a reason you only binge-eat when you’re by yourself; besides shame, we mean. If you’re hungry and you suspect loneliness is the real cause, you can try drinking water or mindfulness meditation. Alternatively: get a date. That’ll solve your loneliness problem, at the expense of creative a few new problems.



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