Types of hunger
When discussing the different types of hunger, it’s important to first understand what drives your appetite. Appetite is the desire to consume food and it is regulated by your brain and hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, which control hunger and fullness signals.1 Various internal and external factors can influence your appetite, and these tend to present as three different types of hunger: physical hunger, emotional hunger, and sensory hunger.
How can eating disorders affect your appetite and satiety levels?
Eating disorders can significantly alter appetite by disrupting hormonal signals and decreasing or increasing hunger cues.1 Individuals with a restrictive eating disorder, like anorexia nervosa, may experience a reduced appetite, while those with binge eating disorder may have difficulty recognizing satiety signals, leading to overeating.3
Satiety and eating disorders
Satiety is the feeling of fullness and satisfaction experienced after consuming a meal.4 Appetite and satiety work in tandem for regulating food intake and maintaining healthy eating habits. Eating disorders can disrupt satiety signals, leading to overeating or undereating, depending on the specific disorder.3 For example, individuals with bulimia nervosa may not experience satiety during binge episodes, resulting in excessive food consumption, followed by compensatory behaviors such as purging or over-exercising.3
Causes of early satiety can be both physical, such as gastrointestinal disorders, and psychological, including anxiety or stress. To manage early satiety, individuals can try eating smaller, frequent meals and avoiding foods that trigger discomfort.
How can you determine when you’re actually hungry?
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, connecting with your satiety levels and cues can be challenging.
Remember that connecting with your satiety levels and cues is a process that takes practice, time, and patience. Be kind to yourself while continuing to work on developing a healthier relationship with food and your body. If you need additional support, Within is here to help.