Hunger pains - Why Do We Get Hunger Pains?

Hunger does not necessarily mean we need energy alone, it could be a sign for us to obtain nutrients!

Why do we get hungry? Some may associate hunger as a sign that we are low in energy, and therefore associate hunger with a need to refuel. However, I firmly believe that the process of hunger is much more sophisticated than we are aware of at present. There may be different forms of the hunger process within the body to ensure humans obtain the correct amounts of essential nutrition for survival as well as our energy needs.

Some scientists believe our body is designed to initiate the hunger process if we are low on nutrients just as much as if our blood sugar levels are low. This could be a valid point as everyone has a plentiful supply of energy from our fat stores, even marathon runners will have thousands of extra calories stored within their lower body fat levels. Therefore, an average person needs some form of biological system in place to ensure he/she obtains a fresh supply of essential nutrients each day. Hunger pains in order to gain energy may simply be the very basic form of our hunger system.

Some researchers believe that our body may have some type of feedback system that tells the brain when it has enough carbohydrates, fat and protein. When a meal has excessive amounts of one macronutrient but light amounts of another, the feedback system may cause us to feel little satisfaction from the meal, pushing us to seek out different foods through craving for other various tastes. This could hold some weight if we looked at the difference between feeling belly full and feeling satisfied after a meal. Have you ever eaten a big meal but still felt hungry? Surely that cannot be the need for more energy?

There may be a similar system in place for many of the essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. A growing fetus will always require the most amounts of ALL the essential nutrition for adequate growth of new tissues and could therefore be the reason why pregnant women have strange cravings for lots of unusual foods.

If there are extra hunger systems within us, then it could partly explain why some of us are eating too much food and gaining weight. In this instance the body could be telling us that we are consistently devoid of certain nutrients and that the uncomfortable feelings of hunger will continue until that specific nutrient is consumed.

This is an important reason why it may be best to ensure any weight loss diet is balanced and contains foods from all the basic food groups. More research is obviously needed on this subject, but all dieters should be making sure that their dietary intakes are full of nutritious foods from all food groups.

If an individual needs to lose weight then portions should be controlled in order to limit energy intake. If the diet needs to be low in total food, then simply spread the different groups into another day’s allowance. For example, if I had hit my energy intake target on day one but I hadn’t eaten a specific food group, then I would simply eat a meal consisting of that group for breakfast or even lunch the following day. Eating my meals this way means I can still have a balanced diet containing all the food groups but spread them out, and the calories consumed, over 2 days instead of one. The dietary guidelines are suggested as daily intakes, but remember they are general guidelines, it doesn’t mean we have to eat ALL groups on the same day, as long as we don’t spread them too far away between other food groups then we should be ok to adjust them from one day to 2 or 3 days.



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