True hunger is a signal from your body that you need one of three things.
Of these three, the most abundant in modern foods is energy. Protein is next. Micronutrients are woefully deficient in modern diets.
Shortages in any of these three will be manifest as hunger. However, if you continue to eat the way you have been eating, you’re just going to overload on energy without satisfying your protein or micronutrient requirements. That results in you getting fat, AND sick.
What’s the solution?
Eat nutrient dense foods. Load up on real food. Eat foods that are low in calories but high in nutrients.
Biggest culprit is sugar. Massive energy, without any nutrients. On top of that, turning sugar into a safe storage form like fat, consumes micronutrients. Leaving you more deficient than you started off.
Next are the modern grains. Mostly glucose with a tiny amount of second class protein. On top of that we turn them into flour to increase palatability and ease of consumption. Same as sugar, processing these grains will leach micronutrients from your body. Worse, consuming nutrient rich foods along with grains mean reduced absorption of nutrients, and less physical space in your stomach for the nutrient rich foods.
Millets tend to have these problems to a much lesser extent
Refined oils. Synthetic oils. Again, no nutrients, just a massive hit of energy. No fat soluble vitamins, no phytochemicals. Nothing to promote satiety.
How do you know that your food is nutrient dense?
Foods that are nutrient dense will not let you overeat.
Foods that are nutrient dense will keep you from getting hungry for several hours.
What foods are nutrient dense?
Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, ghee, butter, curd
People tend to over emphasise fiber.
Insoluble fibre adds no nutrition. It might make you feel full temporarily, but it’ll not keep you full through the day.
Personally, I prefer meat. Organ meats to be more specific. I find that if I don’t consume enough organ meats, my hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods become severe. It becomes tougher to be strict on my dietary choices. Fasting becomes more difficult.
If I’m on a predominantly vegetarian diet, I have to eat more frequently. I can’t get away with one meal a day. On a meat heavy diet, I can go without food for 24 hours without hunger, work with peak efficiency, come back home, do my workout for the day and write a blog post about it.
Find what works for you.
Your energy requirements will be different from mine. Your protein requirements will be different from mine. Your dietary preferences will be different from mine.
Here are questions you need to ask yourself
1. Are you sure your weight is ideal?
2. Are you sure your body fat percentage is ideal?
3. Does your diet control your hunger well, while allowing you to stay close to your ideal weight?
4. Are you illness and injury free?
5. How strong and energetic do you feel throughout the day?
6. Do you look forward to your food?
7. Does your food satisfy you?
8. Are you getting cravings for snacks?
Note that I started the post with “True” Hunger.
Here’s some things that you can confuse with hunger. Call them false hunger if you want.
– sheer mindlessness and distraction
Here’s the funny thing though. Most causes of false hunger are also fixed by eating a nutrient dense diet and timing your meals properly.
Answer these questions honestly. Find your own ideal diet.