If you are planning to make a major life decision then make sure you do it on a full stomach, scientists advise.

Being hungry makes us more likely to make short-term, impulsive choices, a study has found.

Dr Benjamin Vincent, of the University of Dundee, said: "We found there was a large effect, people's preferences shifted dramatically from the long to short term when hungry.

"Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage advisor, doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future. This potentially empowers people as they may foresee and mitigate the effects of hunger, for example, that might bias their decision making away from their long term goals."


Researchers offered participants in the study an immediate reward, or double the reward in future.

When full, participants were willing to wait 35 days to double the prize, but when hungry they were willing to wait only three days.

Academics concluded hunger made people more impulsive even when the decisions they were asked to make did nothing to relieve their hunger.

Dr Vincent said: "We wanted to know whether being in a state of hunger had a specific effect on how you make decisions only relating to food or if it had broader effects, and this research suggests decision-making gets more present-focused when people are hungry.

"We hear of children going to school without having had breakfast, many people are on calorie restriction diets, and lots of people fast for religious reasons. Hunger is so common that it is important to understand the non-obvious ways in which our preferences and decisions may be affected by it."