You’ve heard the old adage that the real way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But did you know that the same might be scientifically true for women? In a new study published in Appetite, researchers found that women’s brains actually respond more to romantic cues on a full stomach than an empty one.
During the study, women were shown romantic images before and after eating a meal. The results, shown through MRI imaging, found that women were much more receptive to romantic notions when fed, directly contradicting previous research that people are more responsive to rewarding stimuli—such as money, sex, and drugs—when they are hungry.
“This data suggests that eating may prime or sensitize [women] to rewards beyond food,” says Alice Ely, the study’s first author. “It also supports a shared neurocircuitry for food and sex.”
These findings bring new meaning to the notion that romance starts in the kitchen and not the bedroom. So, next time you’re out with the one you love, don’t skimp out on the spaghetti!