Hunger in the air

By the end of next month, you probably will be seeing catchy blurbs, or perhaps read a serious piece or two, about the dangers of over-indulging during the holidays.

Actually, the real danger period for the weight-conscious already is under way, according to one landmark study.

And on a chilly, dreary day such as this, with clouds again creasing the sky and the reality of change in the air is inescapable, many of us may be experiencing a notable uptick in hunger.

In a study published about 20 years ago, researcher John M. de Castro documented that compared with the other seasons, humans were consuming 222 more calories a day in autumn.

That was 14 percent more than they were packing in during the spring; 11 more than winter, and 12, than summer.

Not only that: People ate faster and were less full after meals in the fall. De Castro something that was "physiologically generated" suppresses that drive to say "I'm full."

"Humans often complain that they tend to overeat in the fall due to the holiday season," de Castro concluded.

"Fall" in the study did consist of Oceober, November, and December. But the 315 adult subjects who participated in the study and kept diaries under a complicated set of controls were instructed to make no entries during holiday periods.

De Castro was sure something else was going on, perhaps something from our wonderfully complex and mysterious evolutionary past.