Brain and Body

The Way to a Woman’s Heart is Through Her Stomach Too

September 23, 2015 | Kelly Tatera

Woman eating dinner on a picnic table

According to a study, women may be more responsive to romance when they’re full.

Surely you’ve heard the saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, science shows that women appreciate a solid dinner date just as much as men do. Food probably won’t transform you into a modern day Romeo, but let’s just say a nice steak dinner definitely won’t thwart your romantic efforts. (Word on the street is that women love end-of-date dessert, too.)

Researchers at Drexel University explored brain circuitry in hungry versus satiated states among women who were either past-dieters or had never dieted before. The study, published online in the journal Appetite, showed that women’s brains responded more to romantic cues when their appetites were satisfied.

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In the study, the women fasted for eight hours before coming into the lab. While in an MRI scanner, the hungry women were shown romantic images (a couple holding hands) and neutral images (a bowling ball). Brain activity was similar across all of the patients, but when they had the women look at the same pictures after consuming 500 calories, their brains were more active and they were more responsive to the romantic cues.

Researcher Alice Ely tells Time, “Instead of being anxious and annoyed and irritable when you’re hungry…once we’re sated, then we can get on to better things.” When your stomach isn’t satisfied, you get “hangry” (hungry and angry) according to pop culture’s new favorite term to describe the sensation.

Ely says the study was limited because the study group consisted of women who were all around the same age, but that the findings were still “very interesting” and “sort of unexpected.” Even if a woman is totally interested in you, you might get a much better response if you take her out to dinner before throwing out some suave lines.


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