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Why Do We Crave Greasy Food When We’re Hungover?

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No matter how much fun you have into the wee hours of the morning, hangovers are a rough trade-off for a night of boozing. Friends may suggest and swear by dozens of so-called cures, from a very specific type of ice cream, to listening to music, to the “hair of the dog” method. But sometimes all you want is a few gallons of water and a big plate of the greasiest food you can find. So what is it about greasy food that is so enticing when you’re trying to remember what you did with the Advil, but your head hurts too much to think about it? The answer may have something to do with laziness and your need to re-energize.

“One of the most powerful laws in psychology is the law of least effort,” Cornell University College of Human Ecology professor David Levitsky tells mental_floss. “Greasy food is a surrogate for fat and fat is the nutrient for the highest energy density. We go for calorically dense food because it takes the minimum of preparation and yields [the] highest caloric payoff.”

As someone whose job is to teach others about nutrition, Levitsky acknowledges that this craving is not the smartest idea, but sometimes the hunt for energy becomes a higher priority than maintaining a healthy diet. “Evolution doesn’t care that it will kill you when you are 70,” he says. “You have finished procreating by then.” 

If you’d rather not accept the idea that you were temporarily not strong enough to resist temptation, there is another theory that may shift the blame to your brain. International Business Times cites a 2004 study by Princeton University that suggests that a chemical in the brain called galanin is the real culprit. The study involved injecting rats with the chemical to see how it affected their consumption of alcohol. Rats injected with galanin were found to consume more alcohol, even when their food and water intake remained normal. When observed during the day, the otherwise nocturnal rats would drink alcohol during hours that did not match their usual eating and drinking schedules, but they would still not drink water off-schedule and would not eat.

“There seems to be a cycle of positive feedback,” Bartley Hoebel, the study's co-author, said. “Consumption of alcohol produces galanin, and galanin promotes the consumption of alcohol. That would perpetuate the behavior.”

"Alcohol is the only drug of abuse that is also a calorie-rich food, and it undoubtedly has important interactions with systems that control food intake and nutrition," researcher Michael Lewis added.

So the next time you party hard all night, roll out of bed the next afternoon, and head to the nearest diner or fast food restaurant, there are two possible explanations to choose from while fighting off those judgmental stares.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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New Pop Chart Lab Poster Is a Boozy Blueprint For Making Classic Cocktails
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Pop Chart Lab's posters combine design with data, and their latest offering—a full breakdown of the ingredients in 60 classic cocktails—is no exception. From the exact ratio of gin and tonic that should go into a G & T (2 ounces and 4 ounces, respectively) to the garnishes you'll need to make a proper Tom Collins (a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist), the 3-foot-by-2-foot "Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" artwork teaches mixology basics you'd typically learn in bartending school, sans tuition fee.

In addition to mainstays like the Negroni and the Whiskey Sour, the poster also includes relatively obscure drinks (ever heard of the Golden Dawn, or the Journalist?), which you can attempt after drinking your way through your favorite concoctions. Before you know it, you'll be explaining to your friends the intricacies of why you should stir martinis instead of shaking them (sorry, James Bond), or the difference between a highball and a Collins glass. Bottoms up!

"Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" costs $37, and is currently available for pre-order. Shipping begins on Friday, October 20, 2017. (To see the poster's details up close, visit Pop Chart Lab's website and click on the diagram.)

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Attention Beer Lovers: A London Brewery Is Hiring a Professional Taste-Tester
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Beer lovers aren’t given many chances to discuss their passion for imbibing at job interviews. But a new open position at London's Meantime Brewing Company lists that expertise as one of the top qualifications. As Fortune reports, the brewery is seeking a professional beer taster to help improve its products.

The brewery’s part-time employee will “join the panel brewers as they taste, discuss, and pass opinion on a range of different beers,” according to the job listing on LinkedIn. On top of steady access to free booze three hours a week, the taster will receive a competitive salary “with beer benefits.” As the description reads: “Yes, this could just be the best job in the world.”

Meantime isn’t just considering any casual beer drinker for the role. Their ideal candidate will have a precise palate that can distinguish “chocolate malt from dark malt” and “Fuggles from Cascade hops.” They will also have an understanding of global consumer markets, a functioning knowledge of English, and an extensive beer vocabulary. The brewery is located in the London borough of Greenwich, so applicants who aren’t local should be willing to relocate.

Founded in 1999, the Meantime Brewing Company made its name on the beer scene with signature beverages like their London Lager, London Pale Ale, and Yakima Red. If you’re interested in joining the team, post 30 words on your LinkedIn profile explaining why you deserve the gig, along with any photos or videos that may help your case, with the hashtag #pickmemeantime. The company will narrow down the pool to three candidates for an in-person beer tasting before deciding their top pick. Meanwhile, you can prepare for the job by brushing up on your beer facts.

[h/t Fortune]

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