With our society's war against our bodies, it’s about time you take a step back to learn a thing or two about the hunger response. You should know how you process food in order to understand how your metabolism works. After all, it does have a huge impact on your body shape, organs and health. Here are some things you should know about the hunger response in your body.
1. Taste Preferences
Have you ever been hungry and in the mood for a pizza and eating a simple salad does nothing to quench your appetite? Our predisposition to eat sweet and salty foods is all genetic. Carbohydrates release the neurotransmitter serotonin which has a calming, comforting effect but with too many carbs, the pounds start to pack on. I find it interesting because even rats like to devour Oreos when they’re stressed. Knowing your preferences is one thing you should know about the hunger response in order to keep track of what foods you enjoy.
2. Social Eating
It is proven that you will eat more when eating with others. You actually eat more than you anticipate which is why you may feel bloated afterwards. In one study, participants were given two different sizes of popcorn, some containers had fresh popcorn while others were filled with stale popcorn. The participants who ate in a movie-theater like setting ate more popcorn regardless of the container size and freshness of the popcorn. Less popcorn was eaten by those who were not in that setting regardless of the popcorn size and freshness. Crazy, right?
Diabetics are very aware of their insulin levels but most other people don’t pay that much attention to their blood sugar levels. Glucose, aka insulin, is needed in your blood to maintain energy levels and maintain your weight. If it’s too low, you may feel light-headed and faint. If it’s too high, you may have seizure-like episodes. The pancreas secretes this hormone. It’s important to watch what you eat because insulin levels can become distorted due to intake of excess junk food or not nearly enough.
“I’m hungry!” The hormone that sends that response from your stomach to your hypothalamus is called ghrelin. For years, psychologists have studied what triggers you to be hungry. Obese individuals have a greater release of ghrelin so having stomach bypass surgery results in a lower release of ghrelin, thus limiting your appetite.
“I’m full!” If you take the time to listen to your body while eating, you’ll be able to tell when you are full. That’s thanks to the hormone obestatin! So the trick is to watch your hunger response when eating. In the United States, we often devour our meals in a heartbeat, without giving it a second thought. Take the time to slow down when you eat and you’ll be able to feel full.
6. Set Point
Every person’s body has it’s own set point, or the weight equilibrium for that individual. Height, bone density and muscle are all factors that affect your set point but the fact of the matter is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. In fact, the number on the scale can be the same for two people and yet physiologically and psychologically it’s not healthy in the least bit for potentially one of the two.
7. Basal Metabolic Rate
How much energy does your body need to get through a day without doing anything? You use calories to breathe, keep your heart beating and maintaing energy. Your basal metabolic rate is the energy required to perform basic body functions such as those when the body is at rest. It’s important to be aware of that so that you accommodate that into any weight-loss or fitness goals.
These are just a few key points to keep in mind when it comes to your hunger response. Now that you know more about how your body experiences hunger, you may see how that affects your weight gain or loss respectively. What are some other factors that trigger hunger?