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What Heat Means for Your Appetite

By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 02, 2012 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

As the temperature rises our food choices are cooling down. Whether it’s frozen treats, chilled fruit, or cold salads, the shift seems natural. But what affect does temperature really have on our appetite?

Hot Food

My perception of a satisfying meal is a freshly cooked steaming plate of food accompanied by a cold beverage. But a hot plate could mean eating more according to research. A study of hospital patients showed those with isothermal trays ate more than those with conventional trays that allow food to naturally lose temperature. In terms of drinking a cold beverage, it may have an opposite effect on your appetite. A separate study found men were less hungry and ate less when drinking a cold vegetable juice beverage before a meal, strangely the temperature didn't affect women's appetites.

Hot Weather

Have you noticed restaurants tend to be much cooler? It not only keeps you comfortable, but it helps keep you hungry. Research points to different reasons for a change of appetite in hot environments. Body heat regulation seems to be the primary reason we may eat lighter. A military report issued by the Institute of Medicine highlights how heat lowers our appetites. The research outlined also indicates inadequate food intake may induce cold. 

Spicy Food

Think adding a little spice to your food will help you cut calories. This may not be true for those who prefer spicy foods however. 25 men and women added one gram of red pepper to a single meal and researches tested how their appetites were affected. Half were spicy food users and the others were not. Those who were not used to spicy foods ate less, but the same was not true in those used to eating spicy foods. The results suggest after long, spicy food may not be as effective at lowering energy intake over time.

Staying Full 

A hot meal may make you eat more, but what of staying full afterward? Research published in the Journal of Gastroenterology found hot food digests faster. Specifically, both liquid and solid hot meals showed increased gastric emptying. Drinking less during a meal and trying foods at different temperatures during the same meal may also help. If after a meal you still feel hungry, try eating raw vegetables or drinking a cold beverage 30 minutes afterward.

Your thoughts...

How does the warmer weather affect your appetite?


i want to know more about these studies such as where they took place and if more research on larger more diverse populations are happening. being from the southwestwhere it can be hot alot and we add hot sauce.

I've found that a hot cuppa after a light meal, such as a salad, helps me not to eat more. 

I thing we "study" this stuff too much!  Eat healthy, walk a lot, rest well, and call it good.


Gladerunner, I had the same thought. Someone told me to click on the word "study" or "tested"  that is highlighted in the body and it will take you to the actual study cited. It works! 


I think this study makes a lot of sense. I used to live in a tropical country and back then, I remember eating less; and now that I live in a much cooler country, I tend to eat more. I think the cold weather makes us hibernate, our mitochondria also known as our "cellular power plants" signals our body to be lazy during winter, thus we don't do a lot of physical activities. My co-worker who studied molecular biology told me about this and I believe her :D Happy weekend!

Argh, yet another piece with interesting information...but I get distracted by poor punctuation and grammar!!! I desperately want to copy edit the majority of articles I read from Calorie Count. (Do you people who run this website need a copy editor?? I would be all over that!!!)

I know that this research all proves to be true for me personally. I always gain 1-1.5kg (2-3 lbs) in winter and lose it again for summer - but not consciously, and it seems to be outside of my control to prevent the slight weight gain. Since I am quite thin, I've accepted this as my body's way of keeping my core temp. where it should be.  I also notice when I travel to hot climates I am less hungry.


There is more research than just what was mentioned to support this, for those of you who are interested, but I can't recall what journals the research was published in, sorry. Undecided


what i cant beleive is how no one commented on the fact that drinking cold liquid after meals has been a hot topic for cancer cause..look it up online im not joking. who cares if a cold drink makes u eat less. it  also hardens the fats in your stomach....

Good article


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@ curlysue58.......the rumor about cold liquids and cancer is false. Here is a link to the Snopes site @onebunny.....excellent post "Eat healthy, walk a lot, rest well, and call it good."



Surely many of the calories we eat go to keeping us warm?  If the temperature is warm then we need fewer calories.  Or am I being too simplistic?

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I live in Texas and as of right now it is 98 degrees. I do not even think of eating anything heavy or hot. I drink a lot more beverages and I eat a lot more fruit and vegetables, anything that holds a lot of water.  When I do eat, its mostly sandwiches, cold salads and maybe a hot meal for dinner because it is cooler later on in the day.

Original Post by: allawnh

what i cant beleive is how no one commented on the fact that drinking cold liquid after meals has been a hot topic for cancer cause..look it up online im not joking. who cares if a cold drink makes u eat less. it  also hardens the fats in your stomach....

Thanks to another poster for the Snopes link.  In reading the details of this misinformation, I want to add something as a side note.

Part of the claim is that in Japan they drink hot tea after meals.  That's only true in winter.  In summer, they drink cold tea.  Every restaurant here switched over last month.

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Thanks for the link Terryt1! There is so much bunk running around out there about how and when to eat/drink that it drives me crazy! Thank you for dispelling this myth!

Its summer in NZ and I definitely am less inclined to eat, appetite easily reduced when its so hot, happier just drinking .. .and not cold or hot .. room temp is easier for me and its more filling.  Do tend to enjoy ice cream a little more tho :)  Winter is a little harder .. I still dont eat a lot .. but I definitely lean towards carbs - Pasta pasta pasta .. I think in the winter it becomes a comfort way of eating.  This will be my first winter coming up on my weight loss journey .... even though I started last August we had reached mild by then for temps .. but I know when it was cold I just wanted a big plate of pasta.  I drink before meals usually ... if after it is usually a cold drink originally, but by the time I drink it .. its room temp lol.. And Green tea with strawberry is a staple for me morning noon and night.  Interesting reading though :)

In Canada we experience...all weather...situations throughout the year. This condition and other geographic factors affect our ability to manage optimum nutrition. It generally results in malnutrition of various states. For example...dehydrated, degenerative functioning, depleted minerals and vitamins, retention and storage of excess calories in fat, mood disorders, erroneous diagnosis of health and symptoms. Combine this with high altitude and fluctuating pressures, short and long daylight swings....i wonder if there has been research into the impact of changing climate on humans within our ecological landscapes. Drb. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Namaste.

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