What triggers hunger?

Various physiologic feedback mechanisms involving the mouth, stomach, intestines, and brain all work together to increase or decrease your hunger. Many hormones play a role. When your stomach is empty, the hormone ghrelin, which is produced mainly in the stomach, signals your brain that you need to take in food. Your body produces more ghrelin during fasting (such as between meals) in order to stimulate hunger, and it produces less after food is consumed.

Another hormone, leptin, which is produced in fat tissue, helps regulate your body fat by affecting hunger. As your fat stores increase, leptin signals the brain to decrease your level of hunger and food intake.

Once food enters your mouth, sensory signals are sent to the brain that tell you whether or not to continue eating. The feedback mechanism is very much affected by your prior experience of tasting that food.

Manuel Villacorta
Nutrition & Dietetics

Hunger hormone ghrelin triggers hunger as Dr. Oz mentioned. You can control ghrelin by making sure you eat throughout the day. I normally recommend my clients to eat every 3-4 hours and to make sure include protein and healthy carbs when eating. 

For example, if you eat a salad, add chicken, fish, or tofu (protein) as well as a healthy whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa, or beans (carbs). Use this technique when snacking too. Try an apple (carb) and some string cheese (protein). 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.