How Human Bonding Can Help Decrease Snacking

Can’t lay down the Oreos? Here’s an idea: get a little more physical bonding, and you’ll feel less inclined to snack. No, really.

According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, men given small amounts of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in social recognition, pair bonding, orgasm, and other social behaviours, snacked less than when they were given a placebo. This suggests that natural sources of oxytocin (i.e., everything from hand-holding to copious amounts of sex) could result in a similar decrease in snacking.

For the study, twenty lean, healthy men received either oxytocin or placebos and presented with a breakfast buffet and an array of snacks. Hungry men ate the same amount, regardless of whether they took oxytocin or a placebo. However, after breakfast, men who took the oxytocin snacked twenty-five per cent less than the men who took placebos. The study’s authors suggest that oxytocin doesn’t influence hunger-based eating, but reward-based eating is diminished.

So, want to cut back on the cookies? Reach for your girlfriend instead. Your lack of a gut with thank you later.


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