Food is a basic necessity for all living things. Here in our sunny city state, it can be found everywhere, anytime, and in any cuisine. But do you know what is going on in your brain and body when your hunger pangs strike?
Hunger is our body’s way of telling us that we need more fuel, which is essentially the food we eat. The brain registers changes in our hormone and nutrient levels in the blood, and lets us know when we need to stock up.
When hunger strikes
When we are hungry, suddenly everything looks delectable. Ghrelin, the primary “hunger hormone” is secreted from the stomach and triggers the brain to the need for food. We fill this need most of the time but we occasionally end up eating more than we can chew, literally. At times, we’re not even hungry to begin with.
Skimping on your daily water intake can actually trick your body into thinking that you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty! Another cause is sleep deprivation and looking at the food photos on the various social media sites don’t help either. These are just some factors that can lull us into eating well outside and beyond our usual dining hours and eventually, can lead to overeating.
A Matter of Taste
So does food actually taste better when you’re hungry? It’s more psychological than anything else. The sense of taste heightens and varies with the level of hunger that we are experiencing. When we’re low on energy for example, food that is sweet and rich in carbohydrate will be more enticing and fulfilling.
If you’re low on protein, then chances are food such as fish and meat will appeal. Pregnant women, on the other hand, will have varying appetite as the body tailors to the needs of the growing child they are carrying.
The most important thing to know is that there is a difference between being hungry and craving for something. Ask yourself a trigger question before you reach out for that snack – AM I HUNGRY? If the answer is no, then stay away!
If healthy eating is a part of your lifestyle, then most likely it’s real hunger that you’re experiencing. If you feel hungry, then opt for low calorie alternatives. Eat a slice of bread instead of having a cake.
But if your dietary habits are less than desirable, chances are the hunger pangs you’re feeling is more akin to that of an itch.
It’s not too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle because after all, it will do you good inside and out.