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5 Things You're Better Off Doing on a Full Stomach

Sometimes a big meal will do your body good.
5 Things You're Better Off Doing on a Full Stomach

Running on empty can have its benefits when making difficult decisions, falling asleep, having sex, and more (Really: Just check out these 5 Things You're Better Off Doing on an Empty Stomach.) But, there are some serious advantages to doing certain other things on a full stomach. From dodging a hairy hangover to seducing her, here's where a well-rounded, healthy meal really makes a difference. So grab a snack and read on!

Okay, so this applies more to her, but this is need-to-know knowledge for you. You’re more likely to get lucky and take a woman to bed if she’s been properly wined and dined, according to research from Drexel Univeristy. In the study, researchers examined the reward centers in the brains of hungry and satiated women—some of which were past-dieters, and others who had never dieted—using MRI imaging as the women viewed sexual stimuli (“romantic pictures”). Then they compared the same group of women as they viewed neutral stimuli.

Interestingly enough, the young women—regardless of their dieting history—had greater brain activation and a better response to romance when they weren't hungry. Typically, people demonstrate a greater sensitivity to rewarding stimuli like money and drugs when they have an empty stomach. But that’s not the case for women and the potential for romance and sex. Satisfy her hunger and maybe, just maybe, she'll satisfy yours. 

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If you're food shopping on an empty stomach, you're inevitably going to rip-roar through the aisles in a ravenous food frenzy, and research published in JAMA Internal Medicine backs it up. 

A lab study and field study were conducted. In the lab study (which was done on two separate weekdays) 68 participants ages 18-62 were asked to fast for five hours prior to the start. In both sessions, half the participants were given a plate of Wheat Thins and told to eat until satiated, while the other half were given no food. Participants were then asked to shop in a simulated online grocery store that offered a mix of lower-calorie foods (fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts) and higher-calorie foods (candy, salty snacks, red meat). There were an even number of high-calorie and lower-calorie items, and products were displayed without prices.

In the field study, researchers tracked 82 volunteers in a grocery store at different times of the day. They went into this study with the belief that men and women were most likely to be full from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and hungry 4:00-7:00 p.m. And like before, they categorized purchases as low-calorie and high-calorie. Then they calculated the number of low-calorie purchases relative to high-calorie purchases across these “hungry” and “full” time slots.

Hungry laboratory volunteers chose a larger number of higher-calorie foods, but they didn’t purchase more products than well-fed particpants. Likewise, field study shoppers completing the study at higher hunger hours (4:00-7:00 p.m.) bought fewer low-calorie food compared with those completing the study at lower-hunger hours (1:00-4:00 p.m.). 

Another study from the University of Minnesota, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found hunger’s influence extends beyond food consumption to the acquisition of inedible items. An empty stomach appears to activate a need to acquire something (anything) to fill that craving, even if it can’t fulfill the hunger. 

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Those Snickers commercials aren’t just hysterical, they hold a nugget of truth backed by science: You’re not you when you’re hungry, and if you have low levels of blood sugar, you’re more apt to lash out aggressively at your spouse, according to research from Ohio University. 

In the three-week study, researchers had 107 married couples complete a relationship satisfaction measure (they indicated how much they agreed with statements like “I feel satisfied in our relationship”), and they measured their anger with voodoo dolls that represented their spouse, as well as 51 pins. (Seriously.) At the end of each day, they inserted 0-51 pins depending on how angry they were. Naturally, their spouse wasn’t present for the sticking of the doll. They also used a blood glucose meter to measure their levels before breakfast and before bed. 

The researchers discovered the levels of blood glucose in married people (which they measured each night) and predicted how angry they would be toward each other that evening. After the 21 days, the couples came into the lab for an experimental task. They were told they'd compete with their spouse to see who could press a button faster when a target square turned red on the computer, and the winner on each trial could blast his or her spouse with loud noise through headphones. In reality, the volunteers were actually playing against a computer (not their husband or wife), and it let them win about half the time. Participants with low blood sugar levels were linked with higher instances of outbursts, and were willing to blast their significant other at a higher volume and for a longer duration than those who had higher glucose levels.

Snack before you attack, okay?

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Alcohol is absorbed much more rapidly on an empty stomach than on a full one, according to the University of Texas at Austin. When you’ve had a full meal, the food in your stomach slows absorption and slows what’s called gastric emptying time, which is where alcohol is absorbed most rapidly in the uppermost part of your intestines. Research published in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol found the ingestion of certain foods can lower the peak concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream. And a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found food can also help you sober up quicker. Participants who consumed food after drinking alcohol increased the rate of alcohol elimination from their bloodstream by 25 percent. 

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There are six main reasons why you're required to take certain meds on a full stomach, according to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Always check the label on your medication and talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you're unsure. 

1. Medicines may cause nausea or vomiting, like allopurinol, which treats gout.
2. They may be classified as irritants and can cause indigestion or ulcers, like aspirin.
3. They may treat conditions in the mouth or throat, like mouthwashes to treat thrush.
4. They’re better absorbed with food, like HIV medications.
5. They’re an antidiabetic medicine.
6. They’re an antacid, which is best taken when food enters the stomach to relieve discomfort. 

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