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Appetite Control, Hunger and Weight
What Controls Appetite, Hunger and Satiety, Hypothalamus
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Eating Patterns: What Determines Appetite, Hunger, Calorie-Intake and Body Weight

Appetite, Hunger and Weight

To be able to control your food intake and maintain a healthy weight, you need to understand why you feel the need to eat.

Appetite & Food Intake

Experts believe that basically, three factors regulate food intake including:

  • The hunger center located in the hypothalamus section of the brain.
  • The appetite, located in the brain stem.
  • The satiety center, which is neurologically connected to the hunger center and the appetite.

Appetite Factors

Experts believe that appetite is influenced by the brain stem, which is independent of the hypothalamus. The hunger center stimulates an individual to eat while the satiety center extinguishes the need for food. The appetite also stimulates a person to eat.

Appetite is often referred to in the same sense as hunger. It includes and is influenced by time of day, smell, and sight of food.

Appetite is Learned

However, appetite relates to the desire for specific types of food and eating experiences, instead of food in general.

Appetite helps select the quality and balance of food as learned by an individual in his or her environment.

Appetite and Hunger Center

The hunger center is responsible for the long term, metabolic, regulation of food intake over weeks and months. The hunger center maintains normal quantities of nutrient stores and controls physiological hunger. The hunger center is influenced by the following factors:

  • When glucose concentration in the blood is lowered, hunger develops which increases feeding activity until the glucose concentration stimulates the satiety center to eliminate the hunger.
  • When amino acids concentration in the blood decreases, hunger increases, although this effect is not as powerful as the need for glucose.
  • When the quantity of fatty molecules in the body increases, physiological hunger decreases.
  • When exposed to cold weather there is a tendency to eat more as cold temperature interaction in the hypothalamus increases the metabolic rate and provides fat for insulation to correct for the cold state.

Hunger vs. Appetite

  • Hunger is a craving for food associated with a number of objective sensations including hunger pains or a tightness or "gnawing" feeling in the stomach, general tenseness, and restlessness.
  • Appetite, in contrast to hunger, is the short-term, environmental regulation of feeding from hour to hour over the course of a day. The appetite is concerned with the immediate effects of eating factors including salivating, tasting, chewing, swallowing, and the condition of the stomach and intestines.

Appetite & Eating Control - Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Nerves

When you overeat and overstretch the abdominal cavity, nerves in the upper gastrointestinal tract signal to stop eating. This is particularly important in bringing a halt to a heavy meal and explains why drinking water before a meal or why having soup with a meal can reduce total calories consumed. When these "eating factors" controlled in the brain stem have been satisfied, the hunger center in the hypothalamus becomes temporarily inhibited.

Since complete inhibition of the hypothalamus does not occur until both hunger and appetite are satisfied, you may desire food soon after you have eaten if appetite has been satisfied but not hunger. This also explains why people eat when they do not have hunger.

Use Appetite to Control Hunger for Healthy Weight

The fundamental principle underlying adequate eating is to use your appetite to control your hunger.

If you wait to eat until you are physiologically hungry, you may eat four or five times the amount you need to fill the nutritional stores. Many people skip meals and then "pig out."

It is relatively easy to fight off your appetite but nearly impossible to fight off your hunger. To prevent this situation from occurring, eat nutrient balanced meals every day, avoid allowing yourself to become physiologically hungry by using your appetite to control your hunger.

Hunger, Appetite & Satiety

Satiety, the opposite of hunger and appetite, indicates a feeling of fulfillment in the quest for food. Satiety occurs when your nutritional storage deposits, such as the adipose or fat tissue, and glycogen stores are filled. The appetite is satisfied when a person's learned nutritional needs are satisfied.

Balance Hunger, Appetite & Satiety

  • It is important to eat efficiently, balancing hunger and appetite with satiety. Eating nutrient-balanced meals to avoid hunger, and at the same time to fulfill your appetite with positive eating associations are the objectives of an adequate diet. You can learn to use your appetite to control your hunger.
  • If you eat foods with sufficient nutrients to prevent hunger, satisfy appetite, and balance energy, you can avoid the major nutrition-related disorders. The objective is to learn to eat nutritionally balanced meals which will avoid the onset of physiological hunger.
  • Eating within your caloric range is the first important principle related to adequate nutrition. If you do not eat within your caloric range, it will be very difficult or impossible to balance your nutrients.

Source: © Dine Systems 2003 - Web Site: www.dinesystems.com

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