What is true hunger?

Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine

Our bodies have the beautifully orchestrated ability to tell us exactly how much to eat to maintain an ideal weight for our long-term health. These signals are what I call true hunger. This name also differentiates it from toxic hunger (physical addiction to an unhealthful, low-micronutrient diet), which is what everyone else refers to simply as hunger. Most Americans have not felt true hunger since they were toddlers.

Feeding yourself to satisfy true hunger cannot cause weight gain. If you only ate when truly hungry, it would be almost impossible to become overweight. True hunger is a signal to eat to maintain your muscle mass. Eating to satisfy true hunger does not put fat on our body. Excessive fat stores are developed only from eating outside of our body's true hunger demands. When you get back in touch with true hunger, you will instinctually know how much to eat. When you exercise more, you will get more and more frequent hunger; when you exercise less, you will get much less hunger. Your body will become a precise calorie-measuring computer and steer you in the right direction just from eating the amount that feels right and makes food taste best.

True hunger is not uncomfortable. It does not involve your stomach fluttering or cramping. When you feel it, you know it is a normal reaction that signals a need for food. It signals that the body is physiologically ready to digest, and the digestive glands have regained their capacity to secrete enzymes appropriately. It makes food taste much better when you eat, and it makes eating much more pleasurable. People are consistently amazed at how good the simplest foods can taste when they are truly hungry.

True hunger requires no special food to satisfy it. It is satisfied by eating almost anything. You can't crave some particular food and call it hunger. A craving by definition is an addictive drive, not something felt by a person who is not an addict. Remember, almost all Americans are addicted to their toxic habits. A disease-causing diet is addicting. A health-supporting diet is not.

Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set)

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Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set)

Dr. Fuhrman's scientifically proven system, Eat For Health, enables you to finally conquer your cravings and food addictions, while steering your taste buds toward healthier food choices. Medical...

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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.