Appetite: What It Is, Ways To Increase And Decrease Appetite

Ivan Red Jr. Author: Ivan Red Jr. Time for reading: ~19 minutes Last Updated: December 02, 2022
Appetite: What It Is, Ways To Increase And Decrease Appetite

Appetite - from the Latin language "desire" - this is a pleasant feeling associated with the body's need for food. The food center responsible for appetite is located in the brain and is a kind of level of irritation. It is very important to understand the difference between appetite and hunger. Appetite is rather a desire, but hunger is an acute physiological need of the body for nutrients. There are various reasons

As the great medical encyclopedia states: appetite is a pleasant feeling associated with the body's need to consume food. If the word appetite is translated from the Latin language, it means desire. However, none of the human desires wants to control as much as appetite . Medicines that we buy in pharmacies can stimulate appetite , at least as the instructions say. Manufacturers of health products (in particular, those capable of transforming the figure into an ideal one) assure that their drugs suppress appetite . And dietary supplements (biologically active supplements) promise to bring the appetite back to normal. To have an idea of ​​what all this means after all, you need to have an idea of ​​the specificsappetite _

Appetite and hunger - the difference

Physiologically , appetite is built in such a way that the food center, which is responsible for appetite , is located in the brain. This is a kind of irritation. If this degree is mild, a person simply feels a slight appetite , and if it is strong, then it is already hunger . And if the center is asleep, then the person does not want to eat at all.



What is appetite?

To begin with, it is necessary to imagine the pattern of emergence and disappearance of appetite . Without receiving the necessary portion of nutrients from an empty digestive tract, the blood circulating throughout the body will come to the brain hungry. Then the food center starts sounding the alarm, saying it's time to eat. When we listen and fulfill the signal request, the blood, saturated with necessary substances, gives an answer, which calms the food center. Then the body feels good and calm before the next meal.

Of course, there are people who feel good both immediately after eating and when they haven't eaten for a whole day, and those who didn't even want to think about food are also no less happy. All this has its own principles. According to unsentimental doctors, appetite is characterized as a pleasant sensation. That is, this feeling is pleasant to us. And, despite all this, sometimes a person does not just want to eat. And you want something specific, for example, new potatoes with garlic and dill, an appetizing chop or just tomato juice or green tea. A person even feels the aroma of the desired dishes and anticipates pleasure from them. And when a person tastes them, he will get a lot of pleasure from the fact that his wish has come true.

What is hunger?

As for hunger , that's a completely different matter. There is no smell of positive moments here. If a person is very hungry, then he will not have the opportunity to fantasize about delicious dishes, the body needs any kind of food. After all, he is physically ill. And when a person consumes food, or rather, absorbs it, the sense of taste is practically absent. Also, in a hurry, a hungry person eats more than the body can handle. Therefore, instead of pleasure, a person feels heaviness in the stomach and pain. It turns out like this - the more a person starved, the more it is necessary to compensate, in order for the body to work again. Those for whom meatballs, dumplings and pies with mushrooms do not evoke any emotions, are deprived of joy from the anticipation of the taste and smell of any dish. A bad appetiteleads to a deficiency of substances necessary for normal health, which the body receives together with food.


How to manage appetite?

Appetite and hunger are completely normal feelings. In this way, the human body shows a natural desire to eat. Resisting the feeling of hunger in a situation where food is available is extremely difficult. And, in general, it is hopeless. Hunger is imperative. Moreover, the longer we manage to hold back, forbidding ourselves to eat, the more disordered our eating will become and the larger the portions when we break. Conversely, the more often we eat, the less food we need to satisfy hunger.

The center of appetite in most people is more sensitive in the evening than in the morning, in autumn and winter than in spring and summer. Also, this center is more sensitive in the background of anxiety and depression, as opposed to a good mood. And this has a certain meaning - a reflection of the connection between man and wild nature. In the evening, we store energy faster, and in the morning we spend it. The energy reserve is created closer to the cold. In a state of anxiety, the satisfaction of the eating instinct increases the feeling of security, gives the body the energy it needs to face the danger — that is, it calms down. Hence, by the way, the antidepressant property of food. Also, appetite is increased with chronic lack of sleep. This is also related to the fact that anxiety increases against the background of lack of sleep, and food is needed to calm down.

How to use knowledge about appetite for successful weight loss

  • Try to lose weight while staying in a good mood.

  • Eliminate sleep deprivation.

  • Build a diet in such a way that there are as few restrictions and prohibitions as possible in the evening.

Perhaps it would be better to plan the main efforts to lose weight for spring and summer, and in the cold season it is better to limit yourself to weight maintenance.

The mood rises and, accordingly, the appetite normalizes when applying such mild antidepressant influences as a hot bath, a shower, a walk in the fresh air, a meeting with an interesting interlocutor, a theatrical performance, etc. These simple and affordable things have a lot of potential, so don't underestimate them.

In women, the sensitivity of the hunger center depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle. In the second phase of the cycle , the appetite is usually higher than in the first. Also, there is a simple way out — to direct weight loss efforts to the first phase of the cycle, and in the second simply limit yourself to weight maintenance.

Also, appetite increases against the background of alcohol intoxication. Alcohol increases the permeability of cell membranes for glucose, the blood sugar level drops sharply, and we feel hungry . Conclusion — if there is a task to reduce weight or avoid its increase, then alcohol consumption should be strictly avoided.

Various nutrients that enter the body with food have different purposes. Fats mainly replenish reserves, carbohydrates and proteins serve current activities. Fatty food is more difficult to eat, because there is always a place to store fat - the capacity of fat reserves is huge. However, if the food is not rich in fats, does not contain a sufficient amount of protein and carbohydrates, then the body will hardly be able to replenish its fat reserves from it, but it will satisfy the feeling of hunger. Therefore, you should try to satisfy your appetite with mainly low-fat food. And the feeling of satiety will appear, and excess fat will not accumulate.


Increased appetite

Appetite is usually quite effectively increased or, in any case, can be increased in the presence of so-called food impulses - the sight of food, its smell, talk about food, or occasions when food is quite likely. This is inevitable, because this is how our body is arranged. Despite the fact that we recently ate and were full a few minutes ago. Our body can eat and spare. And the creation of energy reserves is an important vital function of humans and animals. The most important thing in this situation is not to deny yourself the desired food, assuring yourself that you are already full and not to allow your mood to deteriorate due to your addiction to food or lack of willpower. All these actions will only increase the appetite . It is much more effective to satisfy hungerlow-fat food, then the body will quickly be satisfied with a small piece of tempting product. After all, these are completely different things: eating in a hurry and eating sensibly and in no hurry, knowing that there are no prohibitions and you can eat any product.

Stress, infections, medications, and illnesses are just a few of the more than a hundred causes of loss of appetite . When faced with a loss of appetite , you must act quickly, as food and water are essential to sustain life. If you ignore the loss of appetite , then this condition can deprive your body of nutrients necessary for full functioning, and also weaken the immune system. Using natural means, you can safely and effectively increase your appetite .

Products for increasing appetite

Reduce your fiber intake. Dietary fiber makes you feel full, which is good when you're trying to lose weight, but when your goal is to increase your appetite , you need to eat less fiber, leaving more room in your stomach for higher-calorie foods.

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, as this way you can increase the amount of vitamins A, C, E. Very often, poor digestion and loss of appetite are caused by a deficiency of these vitamins, so adding juice, fruits and vegetables to the diet will naturally restore appetite .

Drink a small glass of fruit juice half an hour before eating. The sugar in fruit juice causes a spike, followed by a drop in blood sugar, which increases appetite .

Add cinnamon to your diet. Cinnamon contains an active ingredient called hydroxychalcone that can stimulate appetite naturally. Add a little cinnamon to the cocoa or mix it with a little sugar and sprinkle it on buttered toast. Ginger, mint, anise - these spices also serve to improve appetite .

Eat a cup of bitter melon (gourd) every day. This vegetable contains effective compounds, such as lectin, kharantin, which will help sharpen the appetite and support the entire digestive process.

Start consuming orange peel. Orange peel contains numerous glycosides that can help reduce flatulence, improve digestion, stimulate the lymphatic system, and increase appetite . Grate the peel of one orange and add it to a glass of water. Drink this mixture once in the morning to improve appetite .

Take supplements containing dandelion root, rusty elm bark, astragalus herb, and yarrow flowers.

Dandelion root is a natural appetite stimulant . It contains the substance inulin, which can increase appetite by stimulating the digestive system. The recommended dose is 500 mg of dandelion root 3 times a day.

Rusty elm bark contains powerful polysaccharides that help digestion and improve appetite . Also, it prevents nausea. Take 500 mg of rusty elm bark 1 time per day with food.

The astragalus herb contains powerful compounds called flavonoids that help strengthen the digestive system and promote appetite . Take 500 mg of astragalus herb 2 times a day, preferably with food.

Yarrow flowers treat all diseases of the digestive organs and provide the body with energy, thereby stimulating the appetite . Consume 500 mg of yarrow flowers 3 times a day, preferably with food.

If the lack of appetite is caused by stress or anxiety, brew chamomile tea.


Decreased appetite

This question is the most important and interesting. As it was established in the course of many scientific studies, physical activity built in a certain way can cause a decrease in appetite . The mechanism of this phenomenon is that the level of adrenaline and norepinephrine in the blood increases against the background of muscle activity. These hormones stimulate the breakdown of fat. In addition, the nerve impulses coming from the working muscles increase brain tone and reduce depressive mood. And, since the mood improves, it means that the need for food decreases, as in an antidepressant factor.

It is worth noting that not all physical activity has this effect of reducing appetite . So, for example, after exhausting training accompanied by severe fatigue, the appetite increases faster. To achieve the desired effect, you need training of medium intensity, without shortness of breath, palpitations and other discomforts, which leaves behind a pleasant feeling in the body, a feeling of vigor and a good mood.

One more important point. Many note a decrease in appetite and comfort even on unloading food systems, if they were clearly aware of why they needed to lose weight and purposefully moved towards their goal. In this case, a so-called psychological movement occurs. A person recognizes that from being a hostage of habits, he turns into a master of the situation, which changes for the better. In addition, it is much more pleasant and tastier to eat slowly. The feeling of light hunger is also pleasant in its own way. This is how the body tells us that fat reserves are being burned properly. The feeling of light hunger is much more pleasant than the state of overeating.

However, it is very important not to bend the stick in this state. You should not start a competition with yourself and force yourself to starve, because in this case everything can change in the opposite direction. Weakness, bad mood, self-doubt, increased appetite and breakdown.

The brain controls our body's desire for food with the help of the hypothalamus. Certain foods help control appetite by making the body feel full. Eating such foods allows us to eat less. For example, water is the most available natural remedy for reducing appetite .

Products to reduce appetite

Eat foods high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber easily fills the stomach, and the body spends more energy on its digestion than on other foods. As fiber absorbs water, it swells, which makes you feel fuller and reduces the amount of food you eat. And, at the same time, fiber is a low-calorie product.

Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates, so its consumption nourishes the body with energy for several hours. One cup of oatmeal contains 6 grams of soluble fiber. You can add fruits to it, which will increase the fiber content. The recommended daily intake of vegetable fiber is 10 grams. Oatmeal also helps to reduce the level of harmful cholesterol in the body.

Use flax seeds in cooking. Benefit from the high fiber content to make every meal more satisfying. Also, flax seeds are rich in antioxidants. Add flax seeds to baked goods, cereals, salads, yogurt, etc.

Eat fruits and vegetables. Apples, plums and apricots are rich in fiber, so they will take longer to digest. This makes them effective natural appetite suppressants. Also, eating fruit in between meals will help you feel fuller longer.

Eat a grapefruit before lunch or dinner. Grapefruit is also rich in fiber and antioxidants. It can be eaten 20 minutes before eating, which will reduce appetite. It doesn't matter if it's a whole fruit or grapefruit juice.

Eat green salads. Dark greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and red leaf lettuce are high in antioxidants and dietary fiber. Eat salads either before the main meal or as a main course. If you add pine nuts, flax seeds or beans to the salad, the content of fiber and antioxidants will increase.

Increase your daily water intake. Drink water before meals and any time you feel hungry to satisfy it. Water will help you feel fuller and eat less. Also, water improves metabolism and removes toxins from the body. If you don't like plain water, you can drink green tea or water with lemon. Lemon also helps reduce appetite .

Green tea stimulates the formation of hormones that control food cravings, and the polyphenols included in its composition promote fat burning. It is also rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in human health. Drinking green tea before or during a meal will help you feel full much faster, and thus prevent overeating.

Eating vegetable or chicken broth as a first course will help you feel fuller and prevent overeating. Hot liquids generally make you feel hungry, and chicken and vegetables are a great low-calorie way to fill your stomach. Also, it is worth noting that the consumption of soup takes a certain time, and since the feeling of hunger does not come immediately - it takes time for this, then this is another advantage of soup.

A number of plants are natural means for reducing appetite . Cayenne pepper suppresses hunger and gives dishes a piquant taste and aroma. Fennel seeds also reduce appetite . Also, try drinking a cup of fennel seed tea 30 minutes before eating.

Eat lean protein. Replace red meat in your diet with a healthy source of protein to reduce appetite . Start eating poultry (skinless), fish, low-fat soy products and legumes.


Tips and Warnings

  • Eat high-fiber foods as a snack if you want to snack between main meals.

  • Eat slowly, because the feeling of satiety does not come immediately, but after a certain period of time.

  • Stress causes appetite , increasing the formation of cortisol, a hormone that causes a feeling of hunger. Take a deep breath, relax, and rest to regain control over your  appetite .

  • Keep your blood sugar and hunger under control by eating small meals every 2-3 hours.

  • Daily exercise for 30 minutes helps the hormone leptin, which helps reduce appetite , to work better.

  • Get enough sleep to ensure the full functioning of the hunger hormone . Maintaining a low level of ghrelin (the hunger hormone ) helps increase the production of leptin (the satiety hormone).

  • Sometimes chewing gum is enough to get rid of the feeling of hunger .


Loss of appetite

Has it ever happened that you didn't eat anything all day - not because you forgot or didn't have time, but because you just didn't feel like eating? If this not only happened, but also continues for a long time, then it's time to sound the alarm, because loss of appetite can be a symptom of various diseases.

Many even rejoice at such a loss of appetite : now you can lose excess weight without diets. However, there is nothing to be happy about. A good appetite is one of the signs of health, and if the appetite is disturbed, then something is wrong with health. A variety of factors can cause loss of appetite , from stress and stomach problems to serious illnesses.

Of course, a short-term loss of appetite does not mean anything terrible. But, if a week or two has passed, and, at the same time, the loss of appetite is also accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms (fatigue, pain, changes in taste habits), you should consult a doctor.

What are the reasons for loss of appetite ? There can be many of them - from medicines to diseases, serious or not so serious. The main ones are:

  • Snacks between meals. The simplest reason. You snack on cookies, sandwiches, etc. between meals, so you don't feel like eating at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In fact, there is no loss of appetite as such in this case - you just don't eat when you need to, you should review your diet.

  • Emotional condition. Stress, anxiety, depression, tension, loneliness, etc. can cause loss of appetite - you either completely forget about food, immersed in unpleasant thoughts, or you try to eat, but you can't, because you are too nervous. The same category of causes includes more serious mental disorders: depression, anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia.

  • Medicines. Loss of appetite can be caused by taking a variety of drugs: drugs containing digitalis, antibiotics, cold drugs containing FPA (phenylpropanolamine), pain relievers, diabetes drugs, anesthetics, chemotherapy drugs.

  • Various diseases, serious or not so serious. Their list is quite long: some types of acquired dementia (Alzheimer's disease), autoimmune diseases (scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis), problems with the endocrine system (especially the thyroid gland), diabetes, diseases of the digestive and cardiovascular systems, problems with the liver or kidneys, infectious diseases, pneumonia, HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, cancer, etc.

  • Pregnancy. In this case, the decrease in appetite will most likely pass after some time.

So, these are the main causes of loss of appetite . What to do next? First of all, you need to establish the root cause: stop taking medications that cause a decrease in appetite or start treating the disease. If the loss of appetite was caused by a disease, then it should recover after a full recovery.

If the reason is not very serious, then you can restore your lost appetite at home.

To do this, you need to review the diet or diet. To improve your appetite, include your favorite foods in your daily diet. It is best to give preference to nutritious foods and drinks rich in proteins. Green vegetables also stimulate the appetite . Eat small portions, but often, drink more fluids.

Loss of appetite is often associated with a deficiency of zinc and vitamin B in the body, so taking multivitamin complexes will not hurt. You can also include yeast-based nutritional supplements in your diet.

If the decrease in appetite is related to emotional problems, herbal infusions and decoctions can help. They have a double effect: they calm the nervous system and stimulate the appetite . Try to drink decoctions of lemon balm, peppermint, chamomile and dill half an hour before eating. In addition, ginger root tea stimulates the appetite.

Try to give up bad habits or at least reduce alcohol consumption and smoking. Drink beverages containing caffeine (tea, coffee) not before meals, but after: caffeine can also suppress  appetite .


How appetite changes with age

  • 0-10 years. The child's body is growing rapidly. However, eating habits acquired during this period often remain for life. Accustom the child to new tastes gradually, in time they will even be interested in broccoli. Allow the children to choose their favorite dishes and the portion size, listening to their appetite . Try to explain to the child the harm of fast food and snacks, which are so eagerly advertised.

  • 10-20 years. In adolescence, puberty often leads to an increased appetite . Diet during this period definitely affects later life. Due to the reorganization of the body, teenagers often face the problem of lack of nutrients in the body.

  • 20-30 years. Young people begin to live independently, which can contribute to gaining excess weight, since now parents do not monitor nutrition. Also, psychological and physical stress make control over appetite more difficult . At this age, people often do not pay attention to overeating, however, it will be more difficult to get rid of the accumulated fats in the body.

  • 30-40 years old. A healthy diet and a busy work schedule is one of the most difficult combinations. In addition, stress can affect appetite , and lead to both its increase and its loss. How a person will cope with this task is greatly influenced by personal character traits.

  • 40-50 years old. If there are still unhealthy habits, whether in food or in the way of life in general, this period is the last opportunity to change them. Symptoms of future diseases, hypertension and excess cholesterol in most cases do not appear yet, but you should not entertain yourself with vain hopes that a careless attitude to nutrition will still have no effect.

  • 50-60 years old. The body begins to gradually lose muscle mass, which is accelerated due to a decrease in physical activity and menopause in women. To reduce the effects of aging, you should think about a varied diet and moderate physical activity.

  • 60-70 years old. Appetite is suppressed and a person can practically not feel hunger, which leads to weakness and unhealthy weight loss. Age-related problems, such as problems with teeth and swallowing, decreased perception of aroma and smell, can also contribute to a decrease in appetite . Also, loneliness or mental disorders, for example, Alzheimer's disease, can affect appetite . However, it is important to eat well and remember that food should serve not only as a source of energy and nutrients, but also to bring pleasure.


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