Did you know that hunger is one of the most homeostatic motivators for behaviors in humans?
Hunger is defined as a “condition in which a person cannot eat sufficient food to meet basic nutritional needs for a sustained period.” The most extreme form of hunger is called malnutrition. So why do I even bring this up? Because I think it is important to recognize that not all forms of hunger are to be considered equal.
For example, have you ever asked yourself the question… am I hungry? Or I feel a hunger for something? Well, if you have then next time, you ponder those questions try to pause before you react and consider this:
Is it Physical hunger or is it Emotional hunger?
What is the difference? Here are a few examples:
– low energy- usually occurs about 2- 4hrs after your last food encounter
– have a sense of satiety after eating without guilt
– generated quickly usually in the form of a craving
– more than your typical intake of food may feel guilty after eating
Recognizing what type of hunger can help you if trying to build more awareness into your eating habits.
Although the question of why we feel hungry is not always simple to answer. The desire to eat comes not only from the body’s need for energy but also from a variety of cues in our environment and a pursuit of pleasure.
In addition, hormones in the body signal when energy stores are running low. When this occurs, levels of ghrelin sometimes referred to as the “hunger hormone” start to rise, but then become suppressed as soon as we start eating. Food then travels through the body, a series of satiety responses (which signal fullness) are triggered off, starting in the mouth, and continuing down to our stomach these SERIES of signals tell the brain, “Hey, we’re getting food down here! “
And up in the brain, another series of signals is at work, these are the sets of opposite signals: the hunger-stopping hormone leptin. These signals are responsible for telling the brain that you need to eat or that you are feeling full.
So, the next time you feel a hunger for something or a sensation coming from your stomach ask yourself am I physically or emotionally hungry?
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