Does Appetite Increase in the Cold?

Appetite has been found to be more likely to be triggered in cold temperatures. For example, during cold winter months, the average person has been found to gain 1-2 pounds (0.45-0.91 kg). The increased appetite is thought to be the result of colder temperatures signaling to the brain the need for heat, which causes the brain to send cues to the body to eat more food that can be turned into stored fat. Typically, these cues make people crave foods that are rich in carbohydrates, such as pasta or mashed potatoes, because the starches and sugars will warm up the body more quickly.

More about appetite:

  • One study found that people ate an average of 200 calories more each day after there began to be less daylight in the fall.

  • Foods that are high in fat and sugar have been found to cause the same reaction in the brain as morphine or heroin, but on a lesser scale.

  • Staring at the color often called "bubble gum pink" has been found to be effective in reducing appetite in some individuals, but it has not been conclusively proved. This is thought to be because the color has calming qualities that might reduce stress-related eating.
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Discussion Comments


Wow, I definitively feel much more hunger cravings in December. It seems to be a "balancing game" (with me.) If I can stay focused, keeping senses occupied ~ such as hands, eyes and mind, that helps to stop or diminish the sensation of needing to eat (more) food (than is necessary.)


The urge to eat more in winter is definitely an evolutionary thing. But I'm wondering if it's a genetic tendency rather than something triggered by seasonal change. Because where I live right now, it's not cold in winter and I still eat more.


@feruze-- I definitely experience season based appetite change. I eat much more during fall and winter. In the summer, when it's very hot, I have no appetite and eat very little. I gain weight in winter and lose it when summer rolls in.

I also crave different foods in different seasons. I crave a lot of meat, potatoes and bread in the winter and lots of veggies, fruits and seafood in the summer.


I gain a few pounds every winter, but I always thought that it had to do with less activity. I'm not as active in winter as I am in the summer. Plus, in winter, we all wear thick clothes and lots of layers and we're not as conscious of our body as we are in the summertime.

I'm going to pay more attention to my appetite this winter. Maybe I do eat more in winter and don't realize it.

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