Who knew that exposure to sunlight might make you obsessed with food? Several researchers, it seems. A recent study published in the journal Nature Metabolism reveals that exposure to sunlight causes some people to seek out food, eat it, and engage in "food-seeking behaviour." However, "some people" isn't as broad a statement as you might think; according to the research, those hunger tendencies are precisely based on gender. 

The study, which was released on July 11, 2022, presents the findings of a three-year, roughly 3,000-person national nutrition survey. To ascertain if gender explains differences in responses to ultraviolet sun exposure, the system was modified for age and followed both males and females all through the seasons. Men do certainly respond to sun radiation differently than women, according to research findings. 

Image credit:Pexels

Men, not women, are specifically made hungry by UV radiation, and the effect varies greatly depending on the season. That has a complicated reason, one that might even alter how we think about solar exposure in general. 

It simply boils down to hormones as to why men are more likely than women to become hungry when exposed to sunlight. According to The Guardian, the ghrelin hormone generally increases appetite in both men and women. However, after 25 minutes of exposure to the midday sun, only the men in the study showed signs of a triggered ghrelin spike in their blood. Due to oestrogen hormone blockade, women did not experience an increase in the "hunger hormone." 

Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that men consumed more calories during the summer, when sunshine is typically more prominent and exposure is higher. Does that imply that guys may put on weight as a result of sun exposure? Not necessary, considering that, according to The Times of Israel, the increased food intake only added roughly 300 calories to the daily total. 

What's more intriguing is how this information might change how we think about solar exposure. Although excessive sun exposure might still increase the chance of developing skin cancer, The Guardian reports that moderate amounts of sunshine may actually reduce the risk of heart disease and increase life expectancy. Theories centre on potential advantages such the release of nitric oxide by the skin, which relaxes blood arteries and thereby decreases blood pressure. The hormone ghrelin, which rises in males following exposure to the sun, is also an anti-inflammatory and may have further health advantages.