Medical I don't understand why appetite is reduce during cold weather

  1. I just read

    This counters my intuition

    Can someone explain this to me?

  2. jcsd
  3. SteamKing

    SteamKing 10,978
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
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    This has not been my experience.

    I suppose the converse is that people become ravenous when the weather gets hot?

    No, doesn't work for me, either.
  4. SteamKing - This hasn't been my experience either. Shoveling all the snow we had this winter, cause me to have an appetite to even eat foods I wasn't fond of. However, during the summer when it is hot, I usually want to eat lighter.

    Doing research on this, I found this statement

    I would assume that hunger would stimulate an appetite response. I even have an appetite response on visual and ofactory stimuli.
  5. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    This has been in my experience.
    I usually eat more during summer(Or whatever,I don't have four season here :cry:).
    During the cold season(Now), I can say that I don't have too much desire to eat. I don't know why you guys are having a different experience.

    I tend to do less activities in the cold.This includes eating.
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Everyone I've ever known, myself included, always eat more and more heartier foods in the winter. When the weather gets hot, I don't feel like eating and tend to eat much lighter meals, or even just cold fruit.
  7. That has been my experience as well.
  8. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    Am I Alien? or is this due to me having two seasons instead of four?
  9. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,248
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    I think it depends how extreme the activity level and temperature are. The danger point is when your core body temperature starts to drop and you just want to "curl up somewhere warm" (even if that actually means "lying down in the nearest snowdrift") and go to sleep. Thawing out some naturally frozen food (frozen because the temperature is below zero) and eating it is just too much effort compared with a nice sleep ... but that sleep might be the last thing you do, if you give in to it.

    The point where that kicks in depends on the climate. In the UK, you are unlikely to get very cold (daytime temperatures are rarely much below freezing even in mid winter), but you are likely to get moderately cold and very wet, if not properly equipped, at any time of the year. UK mountain rescue teams have to deal with hypothermia cases even in the middle of summer.

    If "doing less activities" means spending more time inside a heated house, that's a different situation IMO.
  10. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Your winter would be classified as summer here, so yes - you are an alien.
  11. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    What do you mean? I live in the equator so I have a Sunny season from Jan to May and a Rainy season from May to December. (I don't get snow :frown:)
    I don't know when you have winter.
  12. SteamKing

    SteamKing 10,978
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
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    If you live between the Tropic latitudes, approx. 23.5 degrees N and S of the equator, you really don't have as great a variation in seasons as at higher latitudes because the angle of the sun doesn't change appreciably during the year, and temperatures are not as variable as a result.

    After working for extended periods in hot weather, I have felt at times an aversion to eating anything in preference to drinking something cool. After cooling off, my appetite would return. I have never felt the same in colder weather, but as I have aged, my metabolism has changed noticeably. I find my self feeling chilled more often (I live in a climate which has mostly mild winters), and I eat to help boost my metabolism and ward off the chill.
  13. Choppy

    Choppy 3,303
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    This is another one of those questions where a statement is made and an explanation is sought, but no real evidence for the original statement is introduced.

    So, before speculating on an answer, is there any evidence for this beyond an onlne winter camping guide statement?

    That said, I wouldn't be too surprised if it's generally true. One speculation is that for most of human existence we haven't had as much food around during the winter months. So it doesn't seem unreasonable that those with a lesser appetite would have a survival advantage over those with a greater appetite (assuming independent, but equal food stores).

    Another speculation is that appetite may be influenced by light. When the sun's up it's time to go hunting and gathering. When it's dark, it's time to curl up and listen to stories by the campfire.
  14. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    It seems that high levels of melatonin could cause lack of appetite. I suppose that the effect could vary significantly from one person to another.

    Read more:

    And this article says the opposite.
  15. Thanks everyone for your responses

    I go along with AlephZero
    Evo thanks for the links; however, this link raise more questions that challenges what I thought I understood, such as:

    I believe we naturally eat what is available during that time of year, and not crave carbohydrates in summer and spring and fattier food in autumn. Because you cannot trust the body to instinctively select the food it needs.

    I found the other link it’s just the type of food we want that changes in autumn. interesting, such as:
    I guess nutritional advice is like the weather here in Maryland, if you don't like it wait five minutes because it will change.
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