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Hunger when its cold

I've been wondering why it is that my appetite increases when it's cold outside. I understand the physiology of why we pee more when it's cold. But does anyone know whether eating when it's cold is a physiological response, a psychological one, or something that we're socialized into doing?

Thu. Jan 11, 1:41pm

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as i understand it, when our bodies digest it slightly raises our body temperature. maybe this has something to do with it?

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 1:53 PM

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all right, i have NO IDEA, but i have to say "i thought i was the only one"! i live in boston and last week it was unseasonably warm, and each day the temp dropped a little and i got progressively hungrier... do we need more calories to keep our bodies warm?

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 2:28 PM

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I always think of it as storing up all this food for hibernation! It is a normal response. I always try to drink warm tea to keep my mind off of it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 2:36 PM

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I ALWAYS eat more if I'm very cold. One's body needs fuel to keep it warm and our fuel is food. So I try and stay warm regardless of the temperature by dressing warmly, drinking hot beverages (tea, herbal tea, low cal soups), and avoiding cold beverages.

A question for the OP: what is the physiology of peeing more when it's cold? TIA.

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 3:33 PM

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here is a link to an interesting article on the subject, although the article is over 6 years old.


Thursday, January 11, 2007, 3:45 PM

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Great article link -- Thanks!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 4:03 PM

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OP here... This explains it better than I can (the pee thing)

The reason is that in order to minimise heat loss during cold exposure the body restricts the flow of blood to the skin and superficial tissues. This is called peripheral vasoconstriction. The result is that blood is shunted to the body core, the volume of blood circulating in the core is higher, and mean arterial blood pressure is higher.

Blood volume, and hence blood pressure, are regulated by the kidney, which either reabsorbs or sheds water from the body according to how well hydrated we are.

So when you are exposed to the cold and your blood pressure rises, the kidney interprets this as due to an excess circulating volume, and sets about losing salt and water in order bring down the blood volume and hence blood pressure. As a result you produce more urine.

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 4:27 PM

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Oh, and thanks for the article. That makes total sense...

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 4:28 PM

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Funnily enough (re the article, which advises eating warm foods in cold weather) I remember reading some stats from ice cream shops in Portland, Maine, which showed highest ice cream cone sales when it was snowing.

Also, not that it was the topic of the question, but in case of true hypothermia throw the diet out the window -- you need white sugar with its high glycemic index, right away!

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 4:34 PM

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