Hunger and Intermittent Fasting
Aktualisiert: März 23
We all know someone that’s the textbook example for ‘hangry,’ that is, anger and frustration brought on by hunger. As a general rule, this person is to be avoided until they eat something, at which point they become the person we know and love once more. But why does hunger have such an impact on seemingly unrelated things, like our mood? Where does hunger come from, and what stimulates this not-so-pleasant feeling? In this article we want to take a closer look at hunger and its various forms. We’ll explain how intermittent fasting affects your body, and we have effective tips and tricks on how to tackle hunger pangs and cravings. 🤼
Table of Contents
Hunger as a protective mechanism
How does our body regulate the feelings of hunger and satiation?
Hunger vs. appetite
How does intermittent fasting affect your feelings of hunger?
Fastic tips: How to deal with cravings and hunger pangs
Hunger as a protective mechanism
Hunger as a protective mechanism
Hunger is a physical sensation. Its sole purpose is to ensure our survival. An energy deficit is shown by a growling stomach, nausea, stomach aches and mood swings like frustration or even anger. Our body demands food because food is the way our body obtains nutrients. Nutrients are converted into energy, and are put to work maintaining the body's circulation and all its associated vital functions.
How does our body regulate the feeling of hunger and satiation?
The processes taking place in the body to regulate our feelings of hunger and fullness are still not completely understood. What is certain is that hunger and satiation are controlled by the diencephalon and other complex interactions.
The decisive factors are the levels of both glucose and insulin in our blood. By way of receptors, the stomach and liver measure these values and pass them on to the interbrain. If there is a deficiency, a hunger stimulus is triggered.
But that’s not all. At least two hormones are also involved in the interaction between hunger and satiation. The first is the demanding ghrelin; a messenger hormone, this hormone is produced in the stomach lining and the pancreas and is responsible for our conception of feeling hungry. In contrast, leptin, the second, is released by our fat cells and signals to our body that we are full.
During mealtimes, ghrelin levels drop and the feeling of being hungry subsides. However, ghrelin is a tricky hormone, in that it will adapt to your daily rhythm, for better or for worse. This is where intermittent fasting comes into play!
The Fastic Check: Hunger vs. Appetite
Many people are no longer familiar with the true feeling of being hungry. It is easily and often confused with having an appetite. With simply ‘having an appetite,’ we do not receive physical signals of hunger mentioned in the first section. An appetite actually starts in the limbic system of our brain, not our stomachs. This is the same place where our emotions are regulated, which explains why many of us are prone to emotional eating for comfort in times that we experience worry, grief, stress, or boredom.
External factors also contribute and trigger. We are all familiar with being tempted by just seeing or smelling food. The sight of a tasty burger, the smell of freshly baked bread is quite literally a mouthwatering experience.
Routine and habitual eating patterns also contribute to the confusion between having an appetite and actually being hungry. Is it 1 o’clock already? Lunchtime, ergo it’s time to have some food.
How does intermittent fasting affect your feeling of hunger?
If you are new to fasting you may be feeling worried about not being able to stick to the fasting window, or finding it difficult to cope with the feeling of hunger and generally control your appetite.
Please do not worry, you can do it! Yes, you really can. And we are here to support you. 👩🏾🤝👨🏼
After all, our bodies are made for intermittent fasting. Before the days of fridges, supermarkets and restaurants, we were hunters and gatherers. Back then not every hunt led to success, and our bodies have learned to store energy efficiently.
With Fastic you never lose sight of your goal because we can support you with really helpful tips and tricks to empower you to control your ravenous appetite and cravings. The key is to start small. If you train for a marathon, you don’t start by running 26 miles on your first day, you build up to it, step by step.
In your Fastic App you can choose from different interval fasting options. This allows you to approach the topic slowly and at the same time get to know yourself and your body better. This way you can set yourself up for success!
Once you have chosen the method that suits you best, you can start your first fasting period. Your body will get used to it in just 1-2 weeks.
Remember the ghrelin hormone we mentioned earlier? Here is the good news about this little gremlin: this hormone relays its message of hunger in adaptation to your daily rhythm. If you are used to regular mealtimes, your body develops the habit of releasing ghrelin at those exact times and therefore, makes you feel hungry and cements the routine physiologically.
At first, this can make your fasting window more challenging, but you will see how quickly your body adapts to the new situation. It gets easier and easier, as this hormone is actually supporting you in the adjustments you are making. Isn’t the human body amazing?!
Fastic tips against excessive hunger and cravings
There are effective ways to tackle unwelcome hunger pangs and cravings. We want to empower you 💪 so you can cope better, especially at the beginning. Here is what you can do to keep your hunger in check:
Drink, drink, drink! You should be drinking at least two litres of liquids per day. Water is the first line of defense against hunger and cravings. You can also feel free to reach for (herbal) teas and coffee, however, no cream or sugar 🤨. If you get bored with the taste of water, spice it up. We have concocted a small selection of recipes for you. Just swipe to the left.
Brush your teeth! The minty flavor of your toothpaste not only keeps your breath fresh, but also reduces your appetite at the same time. Snazzy!
Don’t be distracted? Au contraire mon ami! Keeping yourself busy is a great way to begin to enjoy your fasting window. To keep your mind off it, go for a walk, meet a friend, or start that book that has been gathering dust on your coffee table. Use the time to treat yourself in different ways: sharpen your senses by being more mindful and try to get in tune with your body and your needs. You could meditate or try that new Yoga class you’ve heard so much about 🧘♀. The possibilities to strengthen your mind and body are endless. It can be a very rewarding process to find out what is right for you and truly feel taken care of by your own self!
Remember: it’s time to check your Fastic App. The time tracker helps you to do just that: track your time. It takes your mind off it and allows you to explore, and will tell you how long you have left in your fasting window. Oops, only 5 minutes left? See you, I’m about to eat…
Try some of the suggestions above, or all of them! Notice what is serving you, what makes you feel good. What is effective for you to keep your appetite in check? Just leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!