Hunger vs. craving

Hunger vs. craving

What’s the difference between hunger and craving?

Have you ever noticed when food temptations strike? Is it always out of hunger?

The truth is that it is more often related to mood than hunger. People may crave food to relax, relieve stress, boredom, or to soothe anger. They also eat to cope with loneliness, sadness or anxiety. The food becomes an escape which most of the time makes them feel worse than before. They end up with a feeling of guilt for consuming so many calories. 

The first step to managing cravings is being able to identify the difference between a craving and hunger.

Cravings are usually for comfort foods such as chocolate, sweets and fatty foods. They are often associated negative emotions, such as anger, worry, anxiety, loneliness etc…. Cravings make a person feel good at first but they are usually followed by a feeling of guilt making things worse. Cravings increase during a woman’s pregnancy and menstrual cycle. They may also be stronger while dieting, especially if the diet deprives the person from his favorite food. The cravings can occur even after a person has recently eaten and they can disappear with time.

Hunger however usually occurs after not eating for a few hours. That usually results in a rumbling stomach, headache or feeling of weakness. It doesn’t pass with time, and it can be satisfied by a healthy snack or meal.

So whenever you have a craving, distract yourself. Try to find the reason behind your craving and solve it rather than escaping to food and feeling guilty afterwards. Call a friend, go for a walk, listen to music, read or do any other activity that help reduce the negative feeling and improve your mood.