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Appetite for destruction?
May 4, 2014 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Talking about this with others I discovered that I'm not the only one who throws up, and then hours later, the first real meal you want to eat (after nibbling on saltines or something), is something spicy, greasy or fatty. Is there some science-based explanation for this phenomenon?

For instance, after being sick last week the first thing I wanted was barbecue wings. For other people it was a greasy burger, or a loaded pizza. Mentally it seems like the last thing you're thinking about after vomiting is some greasy, fatty food, but your body has the desire for that sort of thing. Needless to say, googling quickly turned up things I did not want to look at.
posted by cashman to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
 
Most likely if you were sick for a few days you are calorie deficient. So your body is more concerned with starving than throwing up and high caloric foods are the way to fix that. It's kind of binge eating.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:59 PM on May 4


See also: menudo. I don't know why it works, but maybe this will help you figure it out.
posted by Houstonian at 8:02 PM on May 4


If you're throwing up because you're hungover, you're probably craving fatty food because alcohol produces a brain chemical called galanin, and galanin makes you want fatty foods (and more alcohol).
posted by Specklet at 8:02 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for anecdotes, this is not the experience I or anyone I've known on multiple continents has had after gastroenteritis. Mostly that entails craving for the weakest of broths if eating is really necessary, but couldn't we wait a day or two to see if that's prudent?

If you really mean what do people crave after a hangover, then yeah, grease and spice, which is what you should have had instead of too much alcohol.
posted by SakuraK at 11:46 PM on May 4


My theory is that the grease kind of coats your stomach, maybe creates a barrier from some of the acid. I know after drinking too much something greasy seems to settle my stomach.
posted by catatethebird at 6:53 AM on May 5


The first real meal I want to eat after being sick like that is usually comfort food. Which is often greasy or fatty (but not spicy, for me). Not that it's necessarily a good idea!
posted by telophase at 9:31 AM on May 5


I don't necessarily want greasy or fatty food after throwing up, but I do tend to want spicy food. For some reason, possibly a mental association with ginger, I can more easily stomach spicy food when I have or have recently had an upset stomach. It's like I can only stomach things at either end of the taste spectrum: super bland or super spicy.
posted by yasaman at 11:59 AM on May 5


Also, throwing up dehydrates you in short order. In desperately thirsty times, your body can turn fat into water. So you start craving fat (as well as water/electrolytes) when your body attempts to stave off dehydration as well as starvation.
posted by Lycaon_pictus at 8:52 PM on May 5


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