What makes me feel hungry?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Ghrelin is your primary hunger-stimulating hormone. It is secreted from the stomach, and circulates to your brain where it triggers the need to eat. When your stomach is empty, blood sugar is low, and when you haven't eaten in several hours ghrelin rises.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
When your stomach is empty, its inner lining releases this feisty little chemical called ghrelin. When your stomach is growling, it’s this gremlin of a hormone that’s sending desperate messages that you need more food. Ghrelin makes you want to eat. When you diet through deprivation (not eating enough food), the increased ghrelin secretion sends even more signals to eat, overriding your willpower and causing chemical reactions that give you little choice but to go crazy in the pantry. Your stomach secretes ghrelin in pulses every half hour, sending subtle chemical impulses to your brain--almost like subliminal biological messages: Cheese fries! Milkshake! Triple burgers! When you’re really hungry, those messages come fast--every twenty minutes or so--and they’re also amplified. So you get more signals and stronger signals that your body wants food. After long periods, your body often can’t ignore those messages. The chemical cattle prod stops when you eat; when your stomach fills, your ghrelin levels go down, thus reducing your
YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

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YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

Continue Learning about Teen Perspective: Understanding Anatomy

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.