Hormone Released During Sex Reduces Snacking (And Does 80 Gazillion Other Awesome Things For You)

Hey, so, it turns out that sex reduces snacking! Or, more specifically, a hormone released during sex helps reduce snacking. But still, awesome news, right?

According to a recent study, oxytocin – a hormone already associated with a wide range of benefits from reducing stress to increasing feelings of intimacy – reduced the snacking impulse in participants without otherwise reducing their normal, healthy appetites. Which sounds awesome, because obviously trying to cut back on meals can get unhealthy fast – but on the other hand, stopping yourself from reaching for junk food at three in the afternoon is probably pretty good for you. Unless, I guess, you're one of those people who snacks on carrot sticks.

The participants in the study, which was conducted in Germany, were injected with a dose of oxytocin comparable to what would be released during and after sex, then given the chance to hit up an all you can eat breakfast buffet. Participants give oxytocin and those given placebos both ate comparable amounts of food, but when given the chance to snack later in the day, those given oxytocin consumed fewer snack calories than the placebo group.

Oxytocin is released naturally during human bonding activities, such as breastfeeding, childbirth, or sex. It has all sorts of already-established awesome benefits, which oddly enough includes helping anorexics fight food fixation. It seems a little counter intuitive that the same hormone that helps some people not eat could help others not not-eat, but the latter at least seems to be linked with its ability to calm social fears. Reducing the impulse to snack, on the other hand, might have something to do with its ability to reduce reward-seeking behavior, or just its link to good old fashioned stress relief.

These are just the latest in a long line of benefits oxytocin has been found to have; some researchers even think it might be useful in treating autism. It also reduces stress and drug cravings, increases generosity and the ability to sleep, and improves social skills. In other words, it's like a wonder hormone.

So you see? Having sex is even better for you than you thought.