You may be full, but some­times this hap­pens: such an incred­i­ble aro­ma emanates from a street food court that with­in a minute you’ll be crunch­ing on a bun. How to dis­tin­guish the body’s need from the desire to chew?

What do we confuse hunger with?

  • With thirst

When a per­son comes home and imme­di­ate­ly runs to the refrig­er­a­tor, the ques­tion of what he real­ly wants dis­ap­pears: this is a game of the body. “Is it a thirst for water or food?” is a ques­tion you need to ask your­self. Often the body is sim­ply dehy­drat­ed.

Why is the desire to drink con­fused with hunger? This is part­ly due to the fact that water is an impor­tant com­po­nent of food. For exam­ple, fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits con­tain 70–95% mois­ture, and bread — 35%. That is, in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, food can pre­vent death from dehy­dra­tion. But if we eat a bun instead of drink­ing at least 100 ml of water, excess weight can­not be avoid­ed.


An inter­est­ing exper­i­ment was con­duct­ed at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton. Peo­ple who woke up at night from feel­ing hun­gry were asked to drink a glass of water and wait 15 min­utes. If the desire to eat did not dis­ap­pear, they were giv­en food. Most of the exper­i­ment par­tic­i­pants were com­plete­ly sat­is­fied with the water and went to bed. The exper­i­ment showed that the hunger we expe­ri­ence is not always true.

  • With bore­dom

Exter­nal fac­tors often trig­ger the desire to eat, espe­cial­ly when it comes to such a psy­cho­log­i­cal type of hunger as bore­dom. Iden­ti­fy­ing the trig­gers in your life that make you want to eat when you’re bored is the key to break­ing the habit. Am I real­ly hun­gry right now or am I bored? — anoth­er help­ing ques­tion to under­stand what you want.

  • With the announce­ment of a boy­cott of one­self

A sit­u­a­tion famil­iar to every­one. You urgent­ly need to do tedious, rou­tine, long work, and it’s spring out­side the win­dow. And sub­con­scious­ly we are look­ing for rea­sons that will post­pone the begin­ning of this mat­ter in time. At this moment, we imme­di­ate­ly want to crunch on an apple, drink tea and cook­ies, or we may even use heavy artillery in the form of every­thing that is not well in the refrig­er­a­tor. Has it hap­pened?

  • With gus­to

This is the desire to eat, which occurs with­out signs of hunger.

When we see attrac­tive images or videos of appe­tiz­ing food, we expe­ri­ence what is called hedo­nic hunger. This desire to eat for plea­sure in the absence of ener­gy defi­cien­cy. Indi­vid­u­als are more sen­si­tive to food-relat­ed cues (smells of food, sight of food, con­ver­sa­tions about food) that trig­ger feel­ings of hedo­nic hunger.

  • With emo­tion­al hunger

Our rela­tion­ship with food on an emo­tion­al lev­el is very impor­tant. Today it is very easy to buy fat­ty and sweet foods with an intense taste, the ben­e­fits of which are very doubt­ful. Thus, food becomes a means of quick grat­i­fi­ca­tion. Most often, we eat:

  • anx­i­ety,
  • stress,
  • anger,
  • Emo­tion­al hunger is the inabil­i­ty to observe our emo­tions and the desire to drown them out in one way or anoth­er. Usu­al­ly food helps us with this.

    Why do we turn to food at such moments? One of the main rea­sons is its avail­abil­i­ty. At times like these, it can feel like food has the same effect on our brains as drugs and pro­motes instant hap­pi­ness. The prob­lem is that in the long term, we devel­op an addic­tion to food, which con­tributes to weight gain and poor health.

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