Hunger and appetite have completely different meanings and CAN NOT be used interchangeably. So what’s the real difference?

Hunger is our body actually telling us we need food. It’s the rumbling in our tummy and the “shakes” that some people get when they haven’t eaten in a while. 


Appetite is when our mind wants something. It’s walking by a case of doughnuts and not being able to resist, it’s smelling fried food from the food truck and wanting something, and it’s even that weird craving you suddenly got for a grilled cheese sandwich. 


Terrible Twos
Mixing hunger and appetite is recipe for disaster. If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t go to the grocery hungry, you’ll understand. Once you start walking by things your appetite will mix with hunger which will cause you to buy things that weren’t on your list. Also if you let yourself get hungry, you will probably go for something unhealthy because it has combined with your appetite unless of course you’re craving a salad. 


The solution for the dynamic duo
In order to avoid binging because your hunger caught up with your appetite the solution is to never get hungry!! If you eat 3 decent sized meals with small snacks in between or small meals throughout the day, you’ll probably never get to the point where you are truly hungry. If you eat something before you go to the grocery store- those cookies may look tempting but you have a better chance of leaving them on the shelf if you’re already satisfied. It’s also important to remember that you may not have an appetite but can still be hungry- so even if you don’t want to, you must eat something! 


The “Caveman” in us all
Back in the caveman days when our ancestors were hunting animals for food they didn’t have the luxuries and conveniences we do now. There is a reason we crave fat, sweets, and salt. The cavemen didn’t get to choose when they ate, they simply ate when they had food available. They wanted to “bulk up” on fats, sweets, and salts when they had the chance. We need a certain amount of sodium to regulate body functions and for  the water in our body, we need carbs as an energy source, and we also need fat for many functions. Blame the cavemen and your brain for your cravings. Especially when you are restricting these things from your diet, of course you’re going to binge when you get them because your body doesn’t know that you’re not a caveman and that the grocery store is right around the corner. 

Morgan Holben
Author: Morgan Holben

Recommended Articles