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How the hot weather impacts your appetite

There is not a lot of research available out there. However, observational studies show that losing our appetite or desire to eat because of the weather is not far-fetched
Credit: VeselovaElena

We are smack in the middle of summer and it has been hot!

The heat wave may be the reason you may be focused on the pool and not the barbecue. It is common knowledge people eat lighter and cooler when it is hot. Some people may take a pass no matter what's on the menu.

There is not a lot of research available out there. However, observational studies show that losing our appetite or desire to eat because of the weather is not far-fetched.

University of Toronto researchers followed soldiers around the world between 1947 and 1967. They found that soldiers in the tropics and warmer temperatures ate 25 percent less calories compared to soldiers in the arctic and cooler temperatures.

According to doctors, at its simplest level all of the body's functions, including digestion, create heat within the body. A body working over-time to keep cool will suppress appetite in an attempt to lessen its work load and heat. Additionally, with heat comes perspiration. You not only lose water when you perspire, you lose vitamins and minerals. The loss of vitamins and minerals can contribute to chemical imbalances within the body that can suppress appetite.

Our bodies are well-tuned to keep things at status quo. When the weather is hot, the difference between our body temperature and the outside temperature is less, meaning less energy is required to maintain optimal body temperature. On the flip side, our bodies have to work harder to stay at 98.6°F when it is cold, so we eat more food in the winter to help fuel that process.

Ice cream sales tend to soar in the summer months but food scientists say the fat content in ice cream actually warms up our bodies, contrary to any immediate sensory cooling we may experience due to its physical temperature.

Health experts suggests keeping a normal eating routine and drinking plenty of water, even when you do not feel hungry or thirsty. But do not force yourself to eat a large meal. Try to break it into small meals or frequent nutrient-rich and hydrating healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables throughout the hot day. They also say much more research is needed to form a more complete picture between heat and appetite, but in the meantime it seems safe to say that we are not just imagining things.

At the end of the day, every ones metabolism is different and affected differently by the heat. Some people have no problem scarfing down a hamburger in 95 degrees.