Though sex has long been hailed as a good way to burn calories, it turns out the occasional one night stand may also help curb your appetite.
A new study conducted by researchers from York University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health examined the link between over-eating and oxytocin—the so-called "love hormone" released during sex and other intimate activities like hugging and holding hands—and the results gave humanity some much-needed good news.
“Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors,” Dr. Caroline Davis, the lead researcher on the study, said in a press release. While prosocial behaviors are defined as altruistic acts that benefit others, it turns out there are a few selfish benefits to releasing some love hormones as well. “On the other hand, increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite," David continued, "especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates.”
Basically, have sex—or even just cuddle, if you're feeling sentimental—and you could be on your way to curbing those late-night binge eating habits.
Over the course of the last decade, Davis and her colleague, Dr. James Kennedy, studied a large group of 27 to 50-year-olds, all of varying body weights. A substantial number of the participants reported regular binge eating, and the researchers had each subject fill out a questionnaire about their reward sensitivities, punishment sensitivities, sugar/fat food preferences, and dietary habits.
Essentially, Davis and Kennedy found evidence to suggest that certain participants had a biological predisposition to over-eating, and that oxytocin levels had played a large role in either curbing or fueling those impulses.
"These results support the role of genes in giving rise to traits that regulate behavior, and highlight the importance of oxytocin in overeating," Davis concluded in the press release.
Though the study doesn't mention intercourse directly, in the era of weight loss trends and appetite suppressors, releasing some oxytocin through sex might just prove to be an effective dietary supplement in and of itself.