Those Feelings of Hunger Are Actually Something Else…
Have you ever had the feeling that no matter how much you eat, you’re still hungry? Or have you had a huge meal only to feel hungry an hour or so later? Maybe you’ve experienced light headedness, stomach grumbling, cravings for certain kinds of foods, fatigue, maybe even irritability, and when you gave in and ate something else, those uncomfortable feelings went a away for a while. These feelings are incredibly common, but here’s the thing – most of the time when you think you’re hungry – and in fact all of the time that you notice the symptoms above – you’re actually experiencing something other than real hunger: you have “toxic hunger,” as coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
What is toxic hunger?
The Standard American Diet, or even healthier variations of it, contain many foods that are either devoid or severely lacking in nutritional value: high-calorie processed foods, animal products, oils, and sweeteners. Consuming and digesting these foods, even in limited quantities, results in the build up of toxins in the body, also called “toxic metabolites.”
Our digestive system operates essentially in two stages: the anabolic stage (eating and digesting) and the catabolic stage (detoxification and repair). It’s the catabolic stage that’s of particular interest here, because it happens after digestion, which is when the body spends the time eliminating toxins from the body. The elimination of these waste products, especially the ones from the low nutrient foods mentioned above, causes the uncomfortable symptoms that nearly everyone associates with hunger: irritability, stomach growling, light headedness, fatigue, etc.
THAT’S toxic hunger: withdrawal symptoms from unhealthy foods! The problem is that when we eat something, we switch back into the anabolic/digestion phase, the detoxification stops, and we feel better. No amount of portion control can fix this issue if you’re not changing what you’re eating. It’s this confusion of symptoms that has most of us seemingly locked in a never-ending cycle of feeling like we’re slaves to our stomachs. THIS fundamental misunderstanding of hunger is the reason so many diets fail!!!
What can we do?
The good news is that eliminating toxic hunger and getting in touch with your true hunger symptoms is relatively easy.
- Understand True Hunger. The first thing you should know is that understanding and getting in touch with true hunger will allow you to eat the perfect amount of calories your body needs and nothing more; after all, the true function of hunger is to prevent the body from consuming its own muscle for energy. So the bottom line is that you can really go much longer between meals without experiencing this kind of hunger, especially if you have excess fat on your body. What does true hunger feel like? It’s actually much more of a mouth and throat sensation, similar to thirst, rather than a head and stomach sensation. Foods will have a heightened taste when you eat them, but you won’t be experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of toxic hunger.
- Dramatically Increase the Nutritional Quality of Your Diet. Furhman conducted a study with thousands of his patients who adopted a nutrient-dense plant-based diet and published the results in Nutrition Journal, titled “Changing perceptions of hunger on a high nutrient density diet.” The results were quite dramatic as nearly all subjects reported a significant decrease in “hunger pains,” less discomfort between meals or even in the case of a skipped meal, less irritability, and completely new understanding of the experience of hunger. Focus on a nutrient-dense diet composed primarily of unprocessed plant foods (our tru.juice is a great way to get started) and limit or eliminate the foods contributing to toxic buildup in your body, and you’ll begin to really hone your understanding of hunger.
- Eliminate Constant Snacking. If you’re a constant snacker, you probably aren’t in the catabolic stage too much other than when you’re sleeping, because this is the stage where digestion is completed. In order to fully liberate yourself from the feelings of constant hunger, you’ll have to go through some detoxification, and you’ll also have to wrap your mind around the fact that if you’re eating a healthy nutrient-dense diet, you can go longer between meals.
Getting in touch with your true hunger signals creates such a feeling of freedom – no more calorie counting, no more measuring, no more dieting! Just eat nutritious plant-based foods until reasonably full, and your body will do the rest!