Monday, September 28, 2020

Beware of fake hunger, avoid unnecessary eating

Have you ever spent the whole day eating one heavy meal after the other, but still feel hungry and discontent? It happens to the bet of us; you have that large delicious meal but still feel that you have to eat more.

The hunger especially comes after eating. Surprisingly, at times you feel that there is no room for anything else, but that pang just won’t let you breathe.

Yep, that hunger was fake. You were actually full and it was just your body going through a phase, more like what pregnant women experience. Only, theirs are cravings not hunger. Scientists have described this fake hunger as a result of your body having a shortage of a certain nutrient, and this might even be water.

Just like when dehydrated, you can’t evade the hunger, and you will have to respond. Most of us are in the norm of listening to our bodies. And when feeling hungry we have to eat of course. But we have to be careful what we eat. The trick is to nibble on healthy foods, like an apple, a carrot, olives, grapes, nuts, dried fruit or even juice or any other healthy foods that won’t hurt the scale.

Don’t worry if you are without fruit most of the time, either because you don’t buy enough to last longer or because you can’t afford any, there is an option for you too. Do you know how sometime when you are really hungry and you avoid the hunger by doing something else and the hunger goes away? It can also help with fake hunger. Be busy, go for a walk, play a game, or read a book. It will help you plenty. At times sticking to the water is but the best solution, so do it whenever you finish your meal and that annoying hunger pang just creeps in after every 5 minutes.

Did you also know that sleepiness can also make you fell hungry? Published medical reports say that two major hormones, leptin and ghrelin, affect and control sensations of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin, made in fat cells, alerts the brain that you have had enough to eat. Lack of sleep causes a significant drop in leptin levels as well as an increase in ghrelin levels, a so called double whammy for appetite control and feelings of satiety.  Daytime fatigue may lead people to overeat, often, high sugar or nutrient poor foods, in an attempt to get an extra surge of energy. This provides only temporary relief, which is soon followed by a crash in energy levels and a resurgence of hunger leading to more snacking, increased sugar cravings and so on.

Also boredom, fear, anxiety, stress or loneliness are also culprits. When one experiencing any of these emotions their appetite goes haywire. This is termed emotional hunger.

True hunger though is however easy to identify. For example, a growling stomach will make us cranky and unfocused until we have something to eat. Don’t ignore true hunger; doing so may exacerbate it and cause you to overeat to compensate for the missed calories.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.