How To Tell the Difference Between Hunger and Appetite

Knowing the difference - and then developing the self-awareness to be mindful of the difference can help you make better choices when it comes to your diet.
Hunger is what helps keep you alive and alerts you that you need more food. Appetite is craving certain foods for pleasure, the act of eating for enjoyment and/or still eating when full.

Hunger vs Appetite  

Our body has a beautiful clock hidden inside it that tells us from time to time that we are hungry and that we should eat something. Nobody tells us, and we do not even look at our watch but know that it is time for a snack, lunch, or dinner. However, do we eat because we are hungry or do we eat because of our appetite? Many would feel confused as they think that hunger and appetite are one and the same thing. In fact, there are people who use the terms hunger and appetite as if they are interchangeable, but there are obvious differences between hunger and appetite that will be clear after reading this article. Hunger When you are hungry, you look for food. Food is like fuel for our bodies, and our body gives us cues to get something from outside to maintain the fuel levels. Food provides energy to engage in activities. It is this hunger that prevents the energy levels of the body from going down as it makes us eat. We call them hunger pangs, a physical sensation that makes us go for a food item. There is a network of chemicals such as neurotransmitters and hormones that work as messengers and let us know when we are hungry, and we should eat something. It is these messengers who also tell us when to stop. stpmach Appetite Appetite is a term that refers to our psychological desire for food. Appetite is a must for all living things to survive as it is because of our appetite that we eat food and provide the energy required to maintain ourselves. Appetite makes us eat too, but it is a result of coordination between brain and stomach rather than just a need for food. Appetite is more of a psychological reaction to food though it ends with us eating food just as the case with hunger. Sometimes we are driven to food as it smells good or sometimes when it looks yummy. We take a look at the clock and decide that it is time to eat whether we are hungry or not. This is what appetite does to us. It is appetite that makes people overeat as they cannot control themselves because of the great smell or the looks of the food item. In a way, it is our response or conditioning when we see food items that sometimes drive us to eat. The photographs of sumptuous looking food or a model gorging on a delicious food item makes us salivate sometimes, and we become ready to grab a bite. What is the difference between Hunger and Appetite? • Whereas hunger is the physiological need for food, appetite is the desire for food. • Your hunger is satisfied when you get to eat a little bit of pasta. However, it is your appetite that tells you that it is yummy and smells great and makes you eat another bowl. • Hunger is a result of chemicals acting like messengers, telling us that we need to eat to prevent depletion of energy levels inside our bodies. • Appetite makes us eat too though it is our conditioned response to clock or because we find the smell or looks of the food item irresistible. Knowing the difference between the two, and making food choices based on hunger rather than appetite, can help keep your weight down. Source: Feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or check out more from me on my blog at

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published