why does breath mints and other such based sweets seem to alleviate hunger?

311 views

why does breath mints and other such based sweets seem to alleviate hunger?

In: Biology

It’s a mix of pyschology and physiology.

On the physiological level, part of hunger is about blood sugar. When blood sugar gets low, the brain notices that and makes us feel hungry, since eating will solve that problem. Mints won’t fill your stomach, but they do contain sugar. That will temporarily spike your blood sugar, very briefly ending that low blood sugar response.

On the psychological level, when we eat, our brains assume that we won’t be hungry after we’ve done that, so it gets all satisfied and then slowly figures out that it is actually still hungry.

A little bit of psychology and a little bit of poor eating habits.

We are trained from an early age that mint = eating is done. Toothpaste is mint-flavoured, after-dinner mints appear… well, after dinner, chewing gum is chewed after or instead of eating, etc. Most occasions you get mints that are not holiday-based are “no food is forthcoming” moments. Psychologically, you can eventually train your brain to settle down your hunger with stuff like this, Pavlov-style.

The other element is that mint has anti-nausea properties. If you eat it when you are not actually hungry, it will soothe your stomach. We often mistake boredom, vague stomach gurgles, or even just not-being-full for hunger nowadays. Mint settles those feelings by physically soothing your stomach.