I am a Student of Nutrition and Dietics and I recently came across something in my textbook that said Climatic Factors affect the food intake of an individual.The appetite is at low levels during summer months and higher during the winter months, and fluid intake is higher during summer than in winter. I would like to know why does appetite fluctuate with variation in climatic factors. I am particularly interested in knowing the science behind it.
My sincerest apologies for any kind of inconveninece caused. A quick response would be greatly appreciated.
There are plenty of reasons for changing appetite levels. One theory has to do with the amount of a brain chemical that certainly does change with the seasons...that is the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin (also known as 5-HT) is produced in the neurons and regulates mood, indirectly regulates sleep cycles, and also controls appetite. More 5-HT translates into decreased appetite and feelings of hunger contentment and satiety. Changing levels of serotonin are believed to be the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where people undergo changes in mood, personality, appetite, and exhibit mild to moderate depression due to the decrease in sunlight during winter months. This is concurrently followed by an increase in appetite in winter (a survival mechanism to eat as much food as possible when it may not be readily available) while, higher serotonin levels in summer decrease appetite. So in a nutshell:
Summer = more serotinin = decreased appetite
Winter = less serotinin = more appetite.
If you would like to learn more about the fascinating impact of food, seasonal variations, and other effects on mental functioning, check out the following book:
Food and Mood by Elizabeth Somer
Murat Vardar, B.Sc., RNC
Registered Nutritional Consultant
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