4 Types of Hunger: Why It’s Bullshit to Tell People to “Eat Less”

By: Shane Ellison, MS
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I’m on my dream vacation in the Baja. Thus far, I’ve flown my family 600 miles South to experience the cool, turquoise waters of The Sea of Cortez.

But, no matter where I go, I see the same sad phenomenon: Vacationers unable to experience life “up close” because they’re too fucking busy eating themselves into an early grave. The ravenous hunger is not only making the world fat, but it’s also stealing precious life experience from children. As a remedy, doctors and diet gurus advice the obese to “eat less.” That’s bullshit. Here’s why…

There are four types of hunger. In The Stop Eating so Fucking Much Diet, I wrote that three of them are liars. And telling obese people to “eat less” is a huge disservice if you don’t teach them about these tricksters.

Physical Hunger

Most people think that hunger has everything to do with your stomach. When there’s food in your belly, you feel full. When your stomach is empty, you feel hungry. This is what I call, physical hunger.

Physical hunger is the feeling you get several hours after a meal, after a long day of work, or after an intense exercise session. Your stomach growls and you might feel tired, irritable and have difficulty thinking. This is caused by your body’s true physical need for nutrients and energy.

Hormonal Hunger

But your feelings of hunger are affected by many factors beyond whether your stomach is full or empty. In fact, we often feel “hungry” again, soon after a big meal. Or we experience sudden, strong cravings, especially for sweets and carbs.

This is what I call hormonal hunger, and it has little to do with how much you’ve eaten and everything to do with hormonal ignorance – your satiating hormones are either not working or you’ve become insensitive to them.

The cravings caused by hormonal hunger can overcome even the staunchest willpower, and can lead to intense mood swings, fatigue, and a near constant desire to eat, regardless of being “full.” This is the most common cause of “eating too fucking much.” It’s gluttony at it’s worst!

Nutritional Hunger

There is also “nutritional hunger.” Since most food today is nothing more than a pile of food-like substances void of nutrients, your hunger is truly never satisfied. Therefore, after a crap meal, you’ll be hungry in hours due to your natural craving for nutrients. But rather than eat nutrient rich food, 99% of obese will simply eat more crap – eating themselves into the history books without knowing why…

When your diet consists largely of grain-based carbohydrates and other processed, refined foods, your body is missing out on hundreds of critical vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and enzymes. As a means of survival, it will continue to send hormonal signals to your brain to “EAT, EAT, EAT,” even when you have consumed far more calories than you need for basic energy requirements.

Learned Hunger

And finally, there is learned hunger. Since eating elicits a flood of feel-good molecules, the brain will “learn” when and how the food was obtained as a survival method to obtain more in the future. In its most benign form, learned hunger arises at meal time. And since 1pm – lunchtime – comes around only once per day, its fine.

But, in its most malignant form, learned hunger can force someone into overeating based simply on bad eating habits. For instance, if someone eats multiple times per day (bodybuilders and athletes) or while watching television (Kids), learned hunger can set in and force them to become hungry each and every time the situation presents itself.

Athletes who eat every two hours, are simply training their body to become hungry despite no need for nutrients. Same for children – or anyone else – who eat in front of the television. Subconsciously, associations will be made based on learned hunger and forced overeating.

Your Hormones and Brain Will Conspire Against You

You see, the hunger that most people feel has nothing to do with a real need for food. Most of the time your hormones or brain are lying to you. Understanding how the three types of hunger can fool us shows why it’s not fair or prudent to tell overweight people to simply eat less – it’s virtually impossible without teaching them about which hunger is real and which one is fake.

If eating is driven by lying hunger signals, “eaters” are eventually severed from their longevity hormones! Therefore, the only true way to experience life up close and personal is to get control of your hunger as taught in The Stop Eating So Fucking Much Diet book.

About the Author

Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison holds master's degree in organic chemistry and is the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures (SourceBooks). He's been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman's World, US News and World Report, as well as Women's Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start living young by signing up for his FREE Natural Cures Watchdog below.

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