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Are You Really "Hungry"? Understand the Signals That Drive Your Appetite.

Appetite is an extremely complicated beast that scientists still don't even fully understand. Do you feel out of control, do you feel you don't know when to
Jan 10, 2011 | Joy McCarthy

Appetite is an extremely complicated beast that scientists still don't even fully understand. Do you feel out of control, do you feel you don't know when to eat and when not to eat? Well, never fear because there are basic guidelines that can help you get control of the monkey brain that is driving you to eat when you aren't actually hungry. Take a look at this chart to understand what drives you to eat and factors that can quiet your appetite. This chart is from Natasha Turner's book, The Hormone Diet, which I highly recommend you read if you haven't already.

Before you read further, please take note that honouring your hunger is extremely important. This chart is for you to understand why you eat when you are not actually "hungry".

Factors that make you want to eat

Factors that quiet your appetite

Sight of food and smell of food

Out of sight = out of mind!

Overweight or obesity (high body fat)

Maintaining a lean body (low amounts of body fat tissue)

Variety of foods and mixture of tastes (why buffets and standing in front of the fridge grazing are our downfall!)

Avoiding buffets or grazing in front of the cupboard or fridge. Limiting flavours or your exposure to a variety of foods can help to keep your appetite in check

Cold body temperature

Warm body temperature -- Have a hot shower, drink a mug of hot water or do some push ups to warm up!

Lack of sunlight or bright lights

A healthy dose of sunshine or bright light

Internal body clock -- we tend to get hungry at similar times each day and our appetite increases in the winter

Eating regularly throughout the day, starting with a balanced breakfast

Alcohol consumption

Limiting consumption of alcohol to one glass of wine after your meal


Staying well-hydrated

Jet lag, sleep deprivation and shift work have been found to stimulate our appetite

Enough, good quality sleep

High intake of carbohydrates and lack of fibre and fats that help us feel full and satisfied

Consuming protein, carbohydrate and fats mixed at each meal and snack

Brain chemistry imbalance (low serotonin and dopamine) and an unhealthy digestive system

Balanced brain chemistry (sufficient serotonin and dopamine) and a healthy digestive system

High fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and artificial sweeteners increase our cravings and caloric intake

Consuming enough fibre in our diet and avoiding processed carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, fructose and HFCS

Emotional causes -- stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom

Managing stress and feeling satisfied (sexually and otherwise)

Jan 10, 2011 BY Joy McCarthy
VeggieGirl   •   January 11, 2011

Excellent guide! I need to actually follow the factors that stimulate appetite, since mine is often silenced (and I need to eat enough).


Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)   •   January 11, 2011

This is really interesting! I need to read that book. Thanks, Joy!


  •   January 11, 2011

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joy McCarthy, Joy McCarthy. Joy McCarthy said: What drives your appetite? Understand the signals & how to quiet your appetite: [...]


candice   •   January 24, 2011

awesome article Joy, very informative!!


Suzanne Williams   •   May 15, 2011

Wow, thanks! This is why I read your web and follow your tweets. I learn a lot from what you have to say. Suzanne


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