Fasting and hunger

Many people are confused about the difference between hunger and fasting, think they go hand-in-hand, and wonder how to know when to eat.

Fasting is a regimen of intermittent, voluntary abstinence from all food and drink for a period of time. You can fast for a number of reasons including: to lose weight, to improve overall health, or as a religious requirement. Some people choose to fast for a day or two, while others opt for more prolonged fasting.

There are many different types and methods of fasting, and they are all designed to help your body break down fat stores and cleanse from a diet, or to simply lose weight. Some people will use a fast to get rid of a disease, while others do it periodically to lose weight. Either way, fasting is a great way to reset your body, mind and soul and is a great way to cleanse your system.


Do you find that fasting increases your hunger to unmanageable levels? This is how many people envision fasting, but is it accurate? This is not the case from a strictly practical standpoint.

One of the most frequent and unexpected occurrences in my own experience with hundreds of patients is a reduction, not an increase, in the sensation of hunger. They often say things like: I thought hunger would consume me, but now I only eat a third of what I used to because I am satisfied! This is beneficial since you are now able to lose weight by working with your body’s hunger signal rather than resisting it.

The first and most frequent misunderstanding regarding hunger is that it makes us hungry, which leads to binge eating. Experts advise against fasting because you’ll get so hungry that you’ll gorge yourself on Krispy Kreme doughnuts. These experts often have no personal or professional experience with fasting, and training birds to fly is a common practice. So, how about the issue of hunger?

We start to feel hungry 4 to 8 hours after a meal, and we may get irritated. They may be very powerful at times. As a result, a 24-hour fast would result in a five-fold increase in hunger, which would be intolerable. But that is precisely what is not taking place.

Hunger is a conditioned response.

Hunger is basically an elevated suggestibility condition. This implies that we may not feel hungry for a long time, but as soon as we smell a steak and hear it sizzling, we may become very greedy. As demonstrated by Pavlov’s classical studies with dogs, known in psychology as Pavlovian or classical conditioning, hunger is likewise a learnt behavior.

Ivan Pavlov investigated salivation in dogs in the 1890s. When dogs perceive and anticipate food (unconditioned stimuli), they salivate. This reaction happens spontaneously and without training. In his studies, lab workers came into the home to feed the dogs, and the dogs quickly learned to connect lab coats with food intake (conditioned stimulus – CSS). Although there is nothing appealing about a person in a smock (appetizing! ), the dog’s mind connects the two ideas by associating the smock with food.


Even without food, the dogs started to salivate at the sight of the lab coats (they were accustomed to them by this point). Ivan Pavlov, a genius, saw the link and began working with clocks, and before he knew it, he was packing his bags for Stockholm, where he would collect his Nobel Prize and taste those delectable Swedish meatballs. Unfortunately, the ABBA group had not yet been established. The dogs learned to anticipate to be fed (salivated) when they heard the bells alone without food because of the combination of bells and food. It was a learned behavior.

It’s easy to see how this psychology lesson may be applied to hunger. To put it another way, we may feel hungry for a variety of causes, some of which are natural (the scent and sizzle of a steak) and others which are conditioned. These conditioned responses may be very powerful and result in severe hunger. If we eat breakfast at 7:00 a.m., lunch at 12:00 p.m., and supper at 6:00 p.m., the time creates a conditioned incentive to eat. We may still be hungry since it’s 7 o’clock, even if we ate a lot the night before and won’t be hungry in the morning. A conditioned reaction is triggered by a conditioned stimulus (time 7:00). (hunger).

We’re used to constantly thinking about food.

Similarly, if we start associating viewing a movie with tasty popcorn and sugary beverages, even though we’ve just eaten and don’t usually feel hungry, simply thinking about it may make us hungry. The movie is a haphazard stimulation. Of course, food corporations spend billions of dollars to increase the quantity of CS in our food. Hunger – for popcorn, chips, hot dogs, drink, and so on – is the conditioned reaction.

During the game, eat! Eat while watching a movie! Food on the television! At the kids’ soccer game, I’m eating in between halves! Listening to a lecture while eating! At the concerts, you may eat! You can dine with a goat if you want to. On the boat, you may eat. You are welcome to dine at the home. You are welcome to eat with the mouse. All of these are conditioned reactions.

What are your plans for dealing with it? Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, provides a unique solution. We may change our present habit of eating three meals a day by missing meals at random and altering the intervals between meals. We no longer have a 3–5 hour conditioned reaction to hunger. Just because it’s 12 o’clock doesn’t mean we’ll be hungry. Instead, we always receive an unconditioned hunger response rather than a conditioned hunger response. To put it another way, you’re hungry for the sake of being hungry, not because it’s noon.

We can break the connection between food and anything else – television, movies, driving, ball games, etc. – by not eating during the day. Here’s how to do it. Only eat at the table and during meals. Don’t eat while using the computer. It’s not a good idea to eat in the vehicle. It’s not a good idea to eat on the sofa. It’s not a good idea to eat in bed. It is not permitted to eat at the amphitheatre. While playing ball, no food is allowed. Don’t eat while using the restroom. (Okay, that last phrase is obnoxious, but I noticed it!)

By its very nature, the contemporary western food culture tends to accomplish the exact opposite. Every corner has a café or fast food business. In North America, vending machines may be found in every corner of every structure. Muffins and fatty cookies are provided at every break at every meeting, including the Canadian Obesity Network. If it weren’t so sad, it would be ironic and hilarious. (Yes, we are obesity specialists.) Oh, there’s a muffin! Even though I’m not very hungry, I’m going to eat it in the lecture hall).


Break the pattern.

The capacity to stop all of these conditioned reactions is one of the major advantages of hunger. You won’t slobber like Pavlov’s dog every four hours if you’re not accustomed to eating every four hours. It’s no surprise that we find it more difficult to resist all those Mcdonald’s and Tim Horton’s as we go about. Images of food, allusions to food, and grocery stores themselves assault us on a regular basis. Obesity results from the mix of their comfort and our established Pavlovian reaction.

When it comes to changing a habit, it’s important to remember that weight reduction programs aren’t always effective. Instead, it is preferable to replace a bad habit with a healthier one. Let’s say you have a tendency of munching on chips, popcorn, or peanuts while watching TV. You’ll feel as though you’re missing something if you quit. Instead of snacking, try a cup of herbal or green tea. Yes, it will seem weird at first, but you will quickly realize that you are not missing anything. So, instead of missing lunch during Lent, you may enjoy a large cup of coffee. Breakfast is the same way. Alternatively, a bowl of homemade bone broth may be substituted for supper. In the long term, it will be less difficult. Of course, individuals who wish to stop smoking use gum for the same reason.

In terms of diet, social impact may be quite significant. It’s common for us to meet together with friends over a dinner, a cup of coffee, or a diet. It is commonplace, natural, and ingrained in human society all throughout the globe. Attempting to combat this is obviously a losing approach. It is likewise bad to avoid social interactions.

What should be done? Simple. Try not to resist it. Please mark the date on your calendar for the communication. Skip breakfast and lunch if you know you’ll be having a large supper. One of the simplest ways to incorporate Lent into your life is to miss breakfast. This meal is seldom eaten together, and it is easy to skip it throughout the week without anybody knowing. This enables you to fast for a period of more than 16 hours (16:8 protocol). If you don’t have lunch at the same place every day, you may simply skip lunch without anybody noticing throughout the workday. As a result, you may easily skip the 24-hour fast.

So, in essence, there are two aspects to hunger. Unconditioned biological stimuli (scents, kinds, and tastes of food) and conditioned biological stimuli (food smells, types, and tastes) (memorized – a movie, a lecture, a football game). These CS do not normally stimulate hunger, but they have grown almost as powerful as a result of repeated association. I’m talking about the movie, the television, the sight of McDonalds, the jingle, and so on. They were inextricably entwined, but not irreversibly so. Simply alter your response (drinking green tea instead of eating popcorn). Fasting eliminates all conditioned cues, decreasing rather than increasing hunger. Hunger is more than simply a feeling of being hungry.


So, the main issue is: can fasting cause overeating? In a research released in 2002, the answer to this question was given. Twenty-four healthy volunteers fasted for 36 hours before having their calorie intake assessed. The participants ingested 2,436 calories per day at the start of the research. The calorie intake was decreased to 2,914 calories after 36 hours of fasting. As a result, the incidence of overfeeding was almost 20%. Despite this, there was a net loss of 1,958 calories during the two-day period. As a result, the additional food eaten was insufficient to compensate for the time of hunger. They came to the conclusion that a 36-hour fast did not provide a significant unconditioned response the following day to compensate.

Dr. Fung, don’t be too rambunctious. I’m short on time, so don’t bore me with the specifics. In conclusion, fasting does not cause overeating. No, hunger will not be a problem for you. Yes, you can move quickly. It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine.

Jason Fung, Ph.D.

Do you feel hungry all the time? Do you find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods that you don’t really want to eat? Are you constantly on the hunt for the next meal?. Read more about extreme hunger after fasting and let us know what you think.

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You can try fasting for a few days and see if it helps.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is it OK to be hungry when fasting?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop being hungry when fasting?

You can try fasting for a few days and see if it helps.

Is it OK to be hungry when fasting?

It is not recommended to be hungry when fasting.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • when do hunger pains go away while fasting
  • extreme hunger after fasting
  • how to deal with hunger while water fasting
  • intermittent fasting hunger tips
  • fasting hunger pains

About Vaibhav Sharda

Vaibhav Sharda

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