Why does hunger diminish after a certain level?


Sometimes I get the feeling of hunger, but when I wait it out without eating, the painful feeling subsides. Why does this feeling of hunger go away without actually eating anything? Obviously I eventually get hungry again and eat, but I’m wondering why this brief feeling of “okay-ness” occurs.

In: Biology

The hormone that regulates hunger is called ghrelin. It comes and goes throughout the day, and usually spikes around the times your body is accustomed to consuming foods. If you eat 3 times a day: morning, noon, evening, then your body will release ghrelin around those times to signal to your body that it’s time to eat. What’s interesting is, whether you eat or not, ghrelin will cease production after some time and your hunger will subside until it disappears completely.

That is also actually the basis behind intermittent fasting and why it works: you essentially train your body to release ghrelin later in the day, and only within a specific feeding window. It’s crazy to think that humans train themselves to get hungry at specific times throughout the day, when we’ve been taught since we were young that eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is “THE” proper eating plan.

Your body adjusts. The function of hunger pangs is to alert you to the fact that you need food. If it becomes apparent that you’re not going to get food, it won’t help you to be distracted by hunger pangs, so your body moves on to more important things.

Its interesting right?

We’ve often thought the hunger response is an indication that we need to feed but it’s more complicated than that.

How do we know? Because if we needed to feed and we didn’t, all sorts of things would start to go wrong….but very often they don’t.

This indicates that hunger may be a learned pattern. That at certain times of the day we experience these feelings of hunger but really we’re just used to eating at those times.

If you ever get into exploring fasting you’ll realize that all those signals our body sends us, are really not as true as we once thought they were.

Our bodies are quite amazing and can go long periods of time without any food at all, far longer than most even realize.

This is so interesting! I’m pregnant and have basically only been able to nibble on the occasional snack for the last few months due to severe morning sickness. I’m starting to feel much better but my body seems to have completely lost the ability to feel hunger. I only know I need to eat when I remember it’s been a few hours or if I start to feel lightheaded and weak. I’m hoping once I get back into a regular eating pattern my hunger signals will return!

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