Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hunger vs. Appetite: What's the difference?

Hunger and appetite are two very different things. Hunger is the physical need for food whereas appetite is the desire for food. Hunger occurs with low levels of glucose in your blood, several hours after eating – it is a protective mechanism that ensures your body is adequately fueled. Appetite is the conditioned response to food - it is a sensory reaction to the look or smell of food.
Our appetite is closely linked with our behavior but also takes cues from our digestive tract, brain and fatty tissue. Having an increased appetite or having the feeling of wanting to “eat everything in your path”, stems from your biochemistry and/or an emotional connection you have formed with food. Appetite is what controls your cravings and this is influenced by the sensory reaction to food so your appetite can increase or decrease depending on your taste preferences, what food is available to you, your health, and emotional state. Appetite can be increased or decreased by hormonal factors and stress. Most people are “nourished” well beyond when their natural satiety signals kick in. In the hectic world we live in now many people eat when they are distracted or on the run and they have literally lost the ability to listen to intrinsic satiety signals.

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