The Science Behind Appetite and Hunger

The Science Behind Appetite and Hunger

When trying to lose weight, you may feel hunger pangs. That will not do you any good because it can cause you to overeat. It’s hard to control your appetite once you just let go of it. That will end up adding to your waistline if you give in to your appetite and cravings.


It’s important to learn about the difference between appetite and hunger. That way, you will not end up harming your health. They may feel the same way but you will be surprised to know that they are not. So, before further ado, let’s discuss this topic below.


Hunger and Appetite

Hunger and Appetite


Hunger is a physiological need that you feel when your body already needs more energy. It happens when your brain signals to your body that it already needs to eat. You have to maintain your energy levels that’s why you feel hungry.


Appetite, on the other hand, is the desire to eat. But has nothing to do with energy refill. You may feel that you’re hungry but in reality, it’s just your appetite. It can be caused by different conditions such as emotional or environmental factors.



Hunger vs Appetite vs Cravings


Hunger is a need to sustain your body the energy it needs. During these moments, you can eat just about anything. That’s why it’s better to stick with healthy options. Make sure to have enough protein, fiber, and fat your body needs.


Appetite is your craving to eat specific food. It can be triggered by what you can see around you. This can also be emotional so that you will feel better. Cravings are often bad since this can cause you to eat unhealthy food.



What is Hunger?


1. Factors That Influence Hunger


Hunger can be because of your body’s need to maintain its energy levels. Although your appetite and cravings will also make you feel hungry. If you suddenly have a big appetite for a specific food, you will think that you are hungry even when not.


Your leptin production can also trigger the feeling of hunger. It’s how your brain signals your body that it’s time to ear. Climate can also affect your appetite. You may feel hungrier during the cold months. Other factors are exercising, medicinal side effects, sickness, injury, or even social factors.



2. Hunger and An Empty Stomach


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When you feel hungry, it’s easy to just eat about just anything. But the question is, are you truly hungry? Some people eat not because they are hungry but because they just feel that their stomach is empty. It can be caused by boredom or emotional stress.


If you have bad eating habits, this can easily happen. It’s best to understand your eating habits so that you can control your hunger easily. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that signals your brain when you already have an empty stomach. It may take 20 minutes to communicate so wait before eating anything.



3. Hunger and Overeating


Hunger can trigger you to overeat and gain weight in the process. You have to control your hunger if you’re trying to lose weight. There are many ways to avoid hunger from taking control of your body. All you have to do is give them a try. Below are some helpful tips to avoid overeating:



  • Limit distractions during mealtimes.


  • Eat slowly and savor your food.


  • Have a healthy portion meal.


  • Get rid of the temptations.


  • Eat fiber-rich foods.


  • Include protein-rich foods in your meals.


  • Avoid skipping meals.


  • Always destress to avoid emotional eating.



Controlling Hunger



1. Short Term “Cravings”


You can control your short-term cravings by replacing them with a healthier option. If you’re craving sweets, instead of eating pastries or candies, go for sweet fruits. When you want potato chips, go for some nuts instead. That will stop your sweet cravings without the extra weight.


Short-term cravings can be easily pacified by replacing unhealthy foods with healthier options. Every time you crave something, always find an alternative to avoid gaining weight. You can still eat something to ease your cravings. Replacing it with better food choices will keep you healthy and fit.



2. Long Term


Controlling your hunger for the long term means that you need to make some changes. It will help you to stay fit and even lose weight. There are many ways to reduce your cravings and have a long-term effect. Below are some tips to help you control your hunger.



  • Reduce your stress levels to avoid being an emotional eater.


  • Stay hydrated and drink more water.


  • Always get enough sleep to reduce the need to compensate for it through eating.
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  • Eat a healthy amount of protein daily.


  • Keep your mouth bush by chewing gum or have a hobby to keep you busy.


  • Try to change your scenery to avoid your bad eating habits.



What Creates Appetite?



1. How Does Our Appetite Regulation System Work?


Your hormones can create your appetite for more food. It can cause overeating which is associated with gaining weight. Ghrelin is a hormone that is made by your stomach. It sends a signal to your brain when you already need to eat. That will cause you to feel hungry.


Insulin-like peptide 5 can stimulate your hunger. It’s a hormone that circulates in your colon. Leptin is known to be a powerful appetite-suppressing hormone. It’s made of fat cells and the more fat cells you have, the more leptin your body will produce.



2. Which Factors Contribute to Appetite?


Your appetite can be affected by many different factors. That includes your environment, lifestyle, mental, and physical health. It’s hard to break your old eating habits caused by these factors. Especially if you’re an emotional eater and don’t have a healthy lifestyle.


If you want to change this and lose weight, you should try mindful eating. When you feel hungry and eat just about anything, that will not be a good habit. Carefully plan your meals and choose healthy ingredients to use. When eating, try to only eat enough food your body needs and avoid pigging out.



3. What Leads Appetite to Increase?



a. Lacking Protein


Protein has an essential role when it comes to controlling your appetite. It regulates hunger hormones to make you feel full. If you are not eating enough protein, it will result in feeling hungry more frequently.



b. Not Enough Sleep


Not getting enough eyeshot will leave you sleep-deprived. It can cause fluctuations in your hunger hormones. That will make you feel hungry even if you’re not. Change this habit and get enough sleep to avoid feeling hungry all the time.



c. Consuming More Refined Carbs


Refined carbs are also known as bad carbs. Eating more of these will trigger your hunger. That’s because it doesn’t have enough fiber and makes your blood sugar fluctuate. The more refined carbs you eat, the hungrier you can get.



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d. Low Fat Diet


Being on a low-fat diet can do you more harm than good. It will make you feel hungry more often if you don’t have enough fat. Avoid eating low-fat meals since they can leave you hungry even after eating. Fat can slow down your digestion to make you feel full longer.



e. Drinking Less Water


If you don’t drink plenty of water to hydrate your system, it can leave you feeling hungry. Water has appetite-suppressing properties that will make you feel full. Thirst can also be falsely recognized as hunger. Drink water first if you feel hungry to make sure that it’s time to eat.



f. Lack Of Fiber


Fiber-rich foods will help with feeling full. If your diet is lacking fiber, you will feel hungry more often. Fiber can reduce your appetite and make you feel satiated. It will also avoid you from consuming too many calories by feeling full faster in every meal.






1. Can someone be addicted to food?


It’s possible that someone can be addicted to food. Those who suffer from this condition will keep on eating. They know that it can have a negative impact on their health but continue to eat. It’s similar to other types of addiction since food addicts can’t just stop.



2. Which physical conditions can result in appetite loss?


Different types of physical conditions trigger appetite loss. If a person is suffering from a digestive condition, it can make them lose their appetites. Diseases such as asthma, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, HIV and AIDS, hypothyroidism, and high calcium in the blood.



3. Why do people lose their appetite when they’re sick?


Your immune system will be activated when you’re sick. It will release cytokines which is a chemical that will make you feel tired. Therefore, you will also lose your appetite. Eating can provide you with an immune boost so it’s better to eat even if you don’t have the appetite.





Appetite and hunger are not the same. Understanding the science behind it will also help you to control it. Losing weight is challenging especially if you feel hungry all the time. Trying to combat the cause of your hunger can help you to control it. That way, you can finally lose weight without too much effort.



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