Why Does Winter Increase Your Appetite?

(Last Updated On: January 20, 2021)

As we trudge through even more winter, you might have noticed your appetite increasing in the colder months. While stress-eating might have been a thing in the recent winter months compounding it all, you’ve probably noticed a little more of an appetite during the winter. So why does winter increase your appetite?

Winter Instincts

If living in modern society has taught us anything, it’s that we’re hard-coded to do things that don’t really make sense anymore. Having an internal clock? Makes total sense. It also makes sense that we have “morning people” and “night owls,” who are predisposed to wake up on opposite sides of the spectrum. Some of you were up at 4 AM because you were drinking Redbull at 2 AM because it was the only thing in the fridge, but sometimes it’s genetic. Logic it out to a pre-industrialized society, makes sense to have some people in your group who have an easy time staying awake while everyone else is asleep. Not so useful when we now live in a society where everyone is expected to exist on those stricter work schedules. Who needs a night guard when you have walls?

Anyway the point is some researchers believe we have winter eating habits because shorter days gave us an incentive to stockpile calories as the colder months approached. Kind of like bears but we don’t end up sleeping for months at a time. Would be cool, though. 

This is not a topic absent scientific literature either. Eating habits for the average person do change during colder months as the day gets shorter and the nights get colder. On balance, we seem to take in around 200 more calories per day. Other fitness blogs will tell you similar things; exercising in the cold burns more calories. Part of it has to do with how you’re regulating temperature. Takes energy to heat yourself up in the cold or cool yourself down in the heat.

Something… Modern

While it’s quite captivating to blame winter eating habits on ancestral survival tactics, not everyone’s on the same page. Westerners who observe Christmas and Thanksgiving for example have them back to back. If you grew up in that kind of environment, you’re probably primed to eat during the winter season, which is also the holiday season for you. All about opportunity, though perhaps a less global theory depending on what holidays you observe and when. 


Turns out temperature is a pretty big deal when we talk about the seasons known for being cold. What a concept, right?

Anyway, when we’re cold we generally don’t want to stay cold. You’re going to want to find things that are good for warming yourself up. While shivering, piling on more layers, or sitting by a fire are quite normal, your food has a role to play too. Carbs? Comparatively good food for heating yourself back up. 

Then that kinda messes with your blood sugar which will make you want more carbs and it’s a whole thing. But there’s a consensus that eating really anything will help with your metabolism and therefore temperature upkeep, so you could do this in a more healthy way than eating a bunch of bread. 

Let’s be real though, have you ever been sad and just had some good bread?

Just us? 

We like corgis and bread so let’s get both of them together here.



About Kyler 707 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.