We often hear phrases such as ‘I am full but I still want to eat’, ‘I am full, but it would be great if there was a dessert on top of it’, ‘I have no room in my stomach for food, but I can’t say no to coffee’ in daily life. Stating that such sentences are caused by hedonic hunger caused by pleasure, experts warned that where there is pleasure, addiction is very likely to be seen.
Noting that individuals who experience situational stress and who are psychologically tense as a result, can exhibit eating behavior in order to cope with the tension they experience, scientists recommend developing other behaviors instead of eating behavior in coping with stress.
Hunger splits into two aspects:
Experts stated that hunger is basically divided into two categories, and noted that the first is homeostatic hunger and the other is hedonic hunger. Noting that homeostatic hunger is formed by sending the necessary message to the brain in order for the person to provide the biologically necessary energy, experts states that, “The aim in homeostatic hunger is to provide the energy necessary for the survival of the living thing.” said.
I was full, but a dessert on top would be great…
Noting that hedonic hunger is a state of hunger that arises not from basic need, but from pleasure, as it can be understood from the meaning of the word, experts said, “We can hear some sentences in daily life that will enable us to recognize this hunger. For example, sentences such as ‘I am full but I still want to eat’, ‘I am full, but it would be great to have a dessert on it’, ‘I have no room in my stomach for food, but I can’t say no to coffee’ can be given as examples. In summary, hedonic hunger is a situation that arises to provide satisfaction for pleasure rather than basic need.” he said.
If there is pleasure, you have to be careful
Expressing that if there is pleasure in a behavior, it is necessary to be careful, psychologists stated that the behavior of eating more in order to get pleasure is called “nutrition addiction” and said:
“Where there is pleasure, there is a high probability of addiction. When the pleasure-related part of the brain is stimulated too often, the risk of developing addiction will increase. As one eats for pleasure, the desire for more pleasure will come. Because the pleasure-related part of the brain is overstimulated, the threshold of pleasure will rise. Therefore, you will have to eat more to get pleasure. This is called nutritional addiction.”
Nutritional addiction can invite many problems.
Emphasizing that nutritional addiction creates the need to constantly fill one’s mouth and not leave it empty, Clinical Psychologists said, “The more severe the addiction, the more frequent this behavior is expected. This can cause the person to be trapped in a vicious circle. This vicious circle can bring many physical and psychological disorders such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and sleep problems. warned.
Who gets hedonic hunger?
Experts also mentioned the situations in which hedonic hunger occurs and gave the following information:
1- Individuals who experience situational stress and who are mentally tense as a result may exhibit eating behavior in order to combat the tension they experience. When a person gets tense, they eat to relax, this is called emotional eating. For example, family conflicts, work stress, and eating due to exam stress…
2- It can be seen in individuals with low ability to cope with stress.
3- Emotional emptiness is a common condition in depressed people. They may exhibit eating behavior in order to eliminate the emotional gap and to eliminate the lack of pleasure and malaise that occurs due to depression.
4- It can also be seen in people who are impulsive and pleasure-oriented.
Pay attention to these recommendations to fight with hedonic hunger!
Listing what can be done to fight with hedonic hunger, experts list their recommendations as follows:
- Meal times should be arranged. One should not wait to be hungry to be fed.
- The number of snacks should be increased. At least 2 and at most 4 snacks should be created.
- In meals, foods with high fiber content should be preferred, not foods with high sugar and fat content.
- Plenty of water should be consumed during the day.
- Regular walking and exercise should not be neglected.
- Dry fruits, nuts, fruits and dairy products should be consumed instead of processed and fast food-style foods.
- To combat sweet and sugar crises, dried fruit or fruits should be preferred, not excessively sugary foods.
- Expert support should be sought for mental disorders that occur due to stress.
- Social media channels that will trigger food should be avoided.
- In order to cope with stress, instead of exhibiting eating behavior, it is necessary to find other activities that can distract attention and hug them. For example, taking a walk when we are very nervous or spending time with our loved ones…
- Improving the quality of life is important
Paying attention to these issues will protect us from many mental and physical ailments. This will provide us with the opportunity to live a quality life. Thus, we will be able to experience both physical and spiritual satisfaction and lead our lives more comfortably.
Source: Espel-Huynh HM, Muratore AF, Lowe MR. A narrative review of the construct of hedonic hunger and its measurement by the Power of Food Scale. Obes Sci Pract. 2018 Feb 28;4(3):238-249. doi: 10.1002/osp4.161. PMID: 29951214; PMCID: PMC6009994. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6009994/