Hunger vs Cravings : What's the Difference?

Sometimes we confuse hunger with cravings. Hunger is when our body really needs food to keep going. Cravings are when we just want something tasty, even if we're not really hungry. It's like when you grab a snack even though you're not truly hungry.

Hunger is your body's way of telling you it needs food. It happens when your stomach is empty and your blood sugar levels drop. Your body releases hormones like ghrelin to signal hunger. True hunger builds up slowly and can make your stomach growl, make you feel empty, and sometimes tired.

On the other hand, cravings are when you really want to eat certain foods, not because your body needs them, but because you're feeling a certain way or because you see or smell something tasty. They're more about your mind than your body. 

Cravings can pop up when you're stressed, bored, or feeling happy or sad. Sometimes, just seeing food or being around others who are eating can make you crave something. And when you give in to these cravings, you might end up eating more than you need, which might not be good for your health.


Understanding Hunger and Cravings

1. Knowing When Your Body Needs Food

  • Eat different types of food like carbs, protein, and good fats to keep your body healthy.

  • Try to eat at the same times each day so you don't get too hungry and eat too much later.

  • Listen to your body - if your stomach is rumbling and you feel hungry, it's a sign that you need to eat.

2. Managing cravings

Here are some easy tips for dealing with cravings:
  • Know Your Triggers: Figure out what makes you crave certain foods. It could be stress, boredom, or being in certain places.

  • Healthy Swaps: Instead of giving in to unhealthy cravings, try healthier options. For instance, go for dark chocolate instead of a regular candy bar, or choose a fruit smoothie instead of a sugary soda.

  • Mindful Eating: Pay attention to what you're eating and why. This can help you understand your cravings better and stop you from eating on impulse.

3. Hydration for hunger management

Drinking enough water is important for managing hunger.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink water regularly during the day. This helps your body understand if it's thirsty or hungry.

  • Before Meals: Drink a glass of water before eating. It can make you feel fuller, so you're less likely to eat too much.

4. Balancing Nutrient Intake

Make sure to eat foods that are packed with nutrients like vitamins and minerals. These foods give your body what it needs without too many extra calories. It's okay to enjoy treats once in a while, but try to balance them out with meals that are full of good stuff to keep yourself healthy overall.

5. Regular physical activity

Make sure you do exercise regularly. It helps you control your weight and lowers stress. Stress often makes you want to eat more, so exercising can help reduce those cravings.

If we listen to our body and choose our food wisely, we can have a better connection with what we eat. This means eating the right stuff to keep ourselves healthy and not just giving in to cravings without thinking. 

So, when you feel like munching on something, stop for a moment and think: Am I really hungry, or do I just want something tasty?

Sii Nurul

Fulltime sabahan blogger since 2015 who love to write and sharing in her blog. Married with Mohamad Syafrie

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  1. jom makan ketika perlu, dan makan makanan yg perlu sahaja.. :D

  2. Di usia sekarang saya dah tahan diriiii sangat utk tak sering cravings. Krn tau tak baik utk tubuh. Kalopun teringin mengunyah , prefer buah saja. Makanya nak selalu stock buah di rumah trutama macam apel atau pear.

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