Doctors Notes: Hunger Pains – understanding why they occur

The most common origin of hunger pains is the fact that the individual has not consumed food or drink for an extended period of time. Muscle contractions begin to occur when the stomach has been empty for several hours. As the contractions take place, the sensation may be somewhat unpleasant and interpreted as painful. When this is the reason behind the hunger pains, a quick snack is usually sufficient to eliminate the discomfort.

Ways to eliminate hunger pains

Listen to your body

Learn to correctly interpret the signals from your body. What may seem like hunger pains could be caused by thirst, boredom or even habit. When the clock strikes noon some of us run for lunch — whether or not we are actually hungry.

Drink a glass of water

When pains start drink some water! The water will fill the stomach and trick it into feeling full, ceasing the hunger pains. Signs of even mild dehydration can mimic hunger. Increasing your intake of water or even fruits and vegetables such as apples, watermelon, bell peppers and lettuce will do the trick.

Bulk up with fibrous foods

Raw fruit and vegetables keep you satiated and will diminish the frequency of hunger pains. Slice and package some apples, lettuce, carrots or celery for snack time. These fibrous foods are low in calories and rich in nutrients.

Choose foods that keep you full at mealtime

Certain foods rate higher on the satiety Index and will keep you feeling full longer naturally. Toss the vending machine candy bar and reach for some popcorn (a food proven to make you feel fuller longer). Similarly, whole grains, beans, fish and oatmeal are all healthy food choices that linger in the stomach.