Hunger is basically a body mechanism to signal that the body's energy has begun to decrease, so it needs to be replenished by eating food. Even so, there is still debate when should we eat, whether when hungry or have to eat before being hungry?
How can hunger occur?
Hunger is triggered by hormones from the digestive tract, namely leptin and ghrelin. Changes in levels are both adjusted for the availability of food reserves in the body. The ghrelin hormone is a trigger for hunger and desire to eat. The level increases before eating and will drop a few hours after eating. While the leptin hormone is a trigger for satiety which levels increase when the body's energy has been fulfilled from food, so it can provide a sense of satiety.
Either eating when hungry or before hunger is a method of regulating diet, so it does not affect food absorption too much. The difference between the two is the body's effect on hunger and how we respond to hunger.
Benefits of eating only when feeling hungry
There are two reasons why our diet should only follow hunger
Limiting daily calories - recommendations for eating only when you're hungry, aiming to reduce daily calorie consumption, especially for people who are on a diet. For some people, eating food is not triggered by hunger, but rather is a result of being addicted to sweet or salty foods and snacking habits, so consuming excess calories than needed. Although it's a little difficult, this method is also useful in changing the habit of snacking on someone.
Adjusting calories spent on activities - the mechanism of hunger only occurs when the body lacks energy, so when hungry is the right time to re-fill energy. Calorie consumption is more likely to be needed when many activities that involve physical activity and thinking skills in a day. So, just eating when hungry is a method of regulating the right diet if you are less active, especially in physical activity.
Even so, we also need to recognize hunger and make sure it is not just "cravings" to eat something. This can be done by not immediately deciding to take food, but waiting for around 10-15 minutes. If there is no sign of feeling hungry, such as a decrease in concentration and abdominal sounds, or if hunger is lost, then you don't really feel hungry.
Benefits of eating before being hungry
There are several reasons why eating the body before giving a hungry signal is better, including:
Responding to hunger wisely - in fact, hunger often influences our decision to choose food. When feeling very hungry, we tend to choose foods that are strong in taste like sweet, salty and fatty, this can trigger addiction and eat excess food. Conversely, eating before hunger will also affect the assessment of food to be consumed and make it easier for us to choose healthier foods.
Reducing the risk of eating too fast - in addition to influencing decisions in food choices, eating before hunger also affects how a person enjoys food. Someone who eats before hunger is more likely to eat slowly and stop eating faster because the hormone ghrelin level is not too high.
It's good to improve your eating schedule - busyness and lots of activities often make us skip meals. Although often not feeling hungry, this still has a negative impact on health and affects the body's performance. This can be corrected by eating before being hungry but according to the schedule in the morning, afternoon and evening.
So which one is better?
Each method of managing a diet has its own advantages and disadvantages so it must be adapted to the needs of each individual. Eating only when hungry is likely to be difficult for some people, including those who have metabolic syndrome such as diabetes or obesity, because their bodies are more "immune" to satiety or leptin. In addition, the quality of nutrition must be considered in applying both by consuming fibrous foods and high in protein to maintain satiety in sufficient time.
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