False Hunger: Distinguish between Real Hunger and Fake Hunger

“How come you often feel so hungry, huh?” Be careful that you may misinterpret the hunger you feel. Often, you cannot distinguish when the body is really hungry and need food with hunger due to momentary desires or fake hunger. If you often feel hungry and follow your desires, weight gain and even obesity can follow you.

Is that true hunger ?

True hunger is a feeling where you are really hungry and your body needs nourishment. You can wait to eat if you need to, and once you are full, you can stop eating. When you feel a  true hunger , you feel the need to eat, but not certain foods. The food you like and have available will satisfy your hunger, and you won’t feel guilty when you’re done eating.

What is false hunger ?

Unlike the true hunger , the false hunger  aka “fake hunger” is hunger which is not necessarily caused because you are really hungry and you need to eat. False hunger can occur because you are bored or influenced by other emotions. Feelings of emotional hunger usually only want to eat certain foods. Usually the desired food is high in fat and sugar.

At this time, you will continue to eat these foods until they run out, even though you actually feel full. This hunger usually appears suddenly and when that time comes you feel like eating right away. Often times, you will feel guilty or ashamed after finishing the meal.

How to recognize fake hunger?

In fact, the decision to eat is influenced by a variety of factors, such as atmosphere, smell, social settings, etc. Apart from satisfying an appetite, eating can also calm emotions or celebrate something. Eating when feeling disappointed, stressed, bored, or happy can cause overeating, so that it can ultimately make you gain weight. This feeling is what you should pay attention to to be able to distinguish true hunger from false hunger .

Before you take food, you should consider the following things:

  • When was the last time you ate? If it was less than 2-3 hours ago, it looks like you are not feeling the real hunger ( true hunger ).
  • If you eat small, high-fiber snacks, will they fill you up until your next meal?
  • You can drink one glass of water first, and wait for 20 minutes. Are you still hungry? If you are no longer hungry, it may just be a momentary false hunger .

How to avoid false hunger ?

Appetite and hunger have a complex relationship. When you are hungry, an empty stomach and the hormone grelin (hunger hormone) in your blood will signal to your brain that you are hungry. When you’re full, the nerves in your stomach send signals to your brain that you are full, but these signals take up to 20 minutes to communicate, and by this time you may be eating too much.

The following are tips to help you feel a true hunger :

1. Exercise to control your portions

Usually your eyes are hungrier than your stomach hunger. Things like this that you must recognize and reduce. A researcher named Barbara Rolls and colleagues from Pennsylvania State University found that the more food is served, the more you want to eat it. The theory is that environmental cues from serving size mask cues of bodily satisfaction.

2. Eat foods full of water

These foods provide more volume, so the food is more satisfying. Increasing the volume of your food will help fill your stomach, giving your brain a faster signal of satisfaction, and allowing you to feel full with fewer calories. Adding soup to your food is an example.

3. Fiber can help satisfy hunger and reduce appetite

Choose foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Starting a meal with an appetizer in the form of a salad can help you eat fewer calories, because the fiber and water contained in vegetables and fruit are enough to fill your stomach. Remember, fresh fruit contains more fiber and water.

4. Avoid eating buffets

When you are presented with a lot of food choices, you tend to eat more. At this time, all you have to do is limit the diet you take and choose foods that contain high fiber first.

5. Include protein at your main meal or for a snack

Taking protein-containing foods with less fat can help keep you full longer because they stay in the stomach longer. Examples of foods that contain protein with little fat are nuts, low-fat milk, soy protein, lean meat, fish, or chicken.

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