Appetite

Appetite

Analyzing Appetite

If only nourishment were a simple process: get hungry, eat, get full, stop eating. But an array of biochemicals sending signals between the brain and the body control both hunger and appetite, and the difference between the two is complex. While hunger is a physical need for food, appetite is a desire for food—and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two cravings. Appetite can be influenced by physical needs, such as low blood sugar levels, hormones, and exercise. Emotional triggers including stress, loneliness, and boredom can also increase appetite and drive us to choose fatty, sugary and salty foods instead of healthier, more nutritious options. Emotional eating can also override signals that you are full, which can lead to overeating and sometimes a weight problem, if the behavior becomes routine. While you should not ignore your body’s cravings, you can aim to be mindful about what is driving your desire for food.

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