How can I create hunger

Food affair

French fries red and white: taste fantastic, but don't fill you up with a photo in private

Does hunger make you nervous? At what point do you get tired, unfocused, bad-tempered? Is it the moment of the first slight growl in your stomach? Or just that moment when your stomach clearly audibly calls for food? Perhaps you are also one of those people who have themselves so well under control that a rebellious stomach leaves them cold for a long time - although self-control is the easier the more precisely we know when the next burst of energy (pasta! Schnitzel!) is imminent.

Our feeling of hunger is highly complex; a number of body systems are involved in its development. The "Lexicon of Neuroscience" describes hunger as an innate general sensation caused by a lack of food, which in humans is subjectively projected onto the stomach area and which arises from a networked system of neuronal, hormonal and metabolic events. The control center is located in the hypothalamus. Our brain interacts particularly intensively with the gastrointestinal tract. Hardly anyone is likely to have put the excitement of the nutritional apparatus into words as vividly as the gastrosoph Brillat-Savarin in his “Physiology of Taste”: “The stomach is getting ready, its juices are upset, the internal gases noisily change their position, that The mouth is watering and the entire digestive force is under arms, like soldiers just waiting for the order to strike. A few more moments further, and convulsive twitching occurs, you yawn, you suffer, you are simply hungry. "

Eating out of lust

It is us, spoiled by the paradisiacal nutritional landscape in which we live, used to satisfy our hunger immediately - and to go through without "convulsive convulsions". And what's more: flooded with culinary stimuli, we tend to speak of hunger at the first sign of appetite. The advertising calls it "the little hunger in between". Daniel Cappon, who published a book on the psychology of appetite as early as 1973, writes: “An individual's appetite is his desire and inclination to eat, his interest in eating. Food is something a person does. Appetite is what she feels she wants to do, mostly a psychological condition. "

Basically, culinary enjoyment has become an integral part of most activities. Going out today means eating something. One is hardly conceivable without the other. A date is not a real date, is not properly served. A visit to the cinema, according to the ethnographer Phillip Vannini, is not a real cinema experience without popcorn. A day at the beach without ice cream - by no means a summer experience. And watermelon is a must for a picnic. We have become sideline eaters, we eat out of pleasure, out of boredom, or to create a certain mood, depending on the situation. Most of the time, the joy of eating comes before hunger. It is a stroke of luck that this luxury is even possible. As far as hunger is concerned, however, the constant satisfaction of the appetite, the pure pleasure-eating - quite apart from the health consequences - carries the risk of convincing ourselves that our body is suffering from an energy deficit, although it is doing very well. The American psychologist Michael Lowe speaks of "hedonic hunger" and advises those who find it difficult to curb their cravings for chocolate, chips, tiramisu and so on to stop buying tempting foods in the future. According to the motto: what isn't in my kitchen, I can't eat that either. It remains to be seen whether this form of self-mortification actually leads to mindful eating habits or just to frustrated storming out of the house and to the next kiosk.

How we trick our hunger pangs

How can you properly control your hunger (not your appetite)? For example, by making sure you get enough sleep. Because not only what we eat influences our sleep quality, but also how we sleep influences what we eat. Too little sleep makes you hungry. The hormone leptin is released during sleep, which signals to the body that it is full. If we sleep too short or badly, the so-called hunger hormone ghrelin comes into play. Researchers from the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center pushed sleepy and sleepless subjects into a computed tomograph. While the subjects lay in the tube, they were shown pictures of food. The reward system of short sleepers (who had only slept four hours a night in the past few days) reacted much more strongly to the images than that of normal sleepers (nine hours).

What is known to help against hunger to a certain extent is distraction. Anyone who worked with great concentration on an important project pays less attention to their growling stomach than someone who is thinking about which restaurant to test next.

Popular advice is to drink water (no, not cola) before you eat. It makes sense to heed it: In a small study, Dutch researchers used brain scans to investigate how drinking water affects hunger. A large glass of water not only filled the test participants' stomachs (the volume is decisive) much more than a small glass of water, the brain also received more signals from satiety.

What is unusual, however, is the advice from scientists at Plymouth University, who recommend a computer game to control food cravings: Tetris - which, by the way, is also supposed to help you quit smoking. Then rather drink water.


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How we can trick our hunger

From Melanie Mühl

For me a double portion, please! When your stomach growls, it's high time you got something to eat. Or?

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