Let’s be honest, we all love eating food, but drinking water… not so much. That in itself makes it easy to substitute a liquid craving with food, but at most times we genuinely confuse the craving for water with that of hunger. This is perhaps one of the biggest problems contributing to weight gain and impeding weight loss.
Why We Confuse Thirst With Hunger
“Some experts believe that the confusion may occur as both hunger and thirst signals are regulated by the same region of the brain, but it could also be associated with fatigue from chronic dehydration”
The same region of the brain, the hypothalamus, interprets and sends signals on both hunger and thirst, aside from performing other vital functions. Although doubtful, some experts believe that this is what causes mixed signals and the resultant confusion between hunger and thirst. Others believe that chronic dehydration can mix up these signals as your body responds to the dehydration induced fatigue with a craving for food to restore energy levels.
No matter the cause for this confusion, what is undeniable is that the problem does exist – many of us even experience hunger soon after a meal – in reality such post meal food cravings are a sign of thirst.
How To Differentiate Between Hunger & Thirst
“If you’re not sure whether you are hungry or thirsty, simply down a glass of water and wait for at least fifteen to twenty minutes – if it was thirst, your craving will have vanished”
It’s actually pretty easy to identify your craving with a common sense trick. If you’re not sure whether you are hungry or thirsty, simply down a glass of water and wait for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. If you still feel hungry, it means that you really do need to eat. It makes sense to test your craving with water, as you don’t stand to lose anything from drinking a little more water – water contains no calories and you won’t gain any weight. The best way to minimize the risk of overeating because of confusing thirst with hunger would be through maintaining hydration levels throughout the day.
If you find it hard to remember to drink enough water in the day, you could try installing some water reminder apps. Alternatively, you can also try sipping on some highly nutritious and hydrating drinks like coconut water or beet juice.
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