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What is the difference between hunger and cravings?

What is the difference between hunger & craving?
Women devouring cupcake | Image Source - freepik.com

Cravings and hunger are two distinct feelings. Body controls hunger, but mind controls desires. The vagus nerve, which connects the abdomen to the brain, signals our brain that it’s time to eat.

Hunger is a biological mechanism that works as a survival instinct does. Our hunger hormones signal the brain that we need more energy when we go several hours without eating. This signaling pathway informs the hypothalamus, the brain’s command centre, that we require calories for energy.

A craving, on the other hand, motivates you to eat even if your body doesn’t require additional energy. You’re craving if you’re hungry one or two hours after eating a decent meal. A craving differs from hunger because it focuses on a particular item, flavour, or texture.

Food cravings are prevalent, according to a study published in the journal Appetite, with 97% of women and 68% of men reporting episodes of food cravings. Cravings, on the other hand, can be both physiological and psychological, in contrast to this natural mechanism. A hunger might be your body’s method of informing you it requires something.

Stress and worry might make you crave carbohydrates, which increase serotonin levels and have a calming impact. Also, another source of cravings is boredom. Finally, particular foods’ smell, sights, or ideas may induce cravings because they make you joyful.

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