The Different Types of Hunger

emotional eating

Written by: Kristina Madjuga, August 2020 

There are 3 different types of hunger that are important to identify in order to listen to your body's cues. Read more to find out each type!

Hunger is a sensation that has been felt by every single one of us, yet not everyone is aware of different types of hunger that exist. Different types of hunger correspond to different needs. By recognizing these different needs will help you be more aware of why you eat and how to respond better to your hunger cues.  


What are the different types of hunger?
Physical hunger
Your stomach is growling, you are thinking about food- you are experiencing stomach hunger. Physical or stomach hunger is the natural need for food (1). It’s a way for your body to signal to you that you need to refuel your energy stores. This type of hunger can also refer to the medical need for food e.g. when you need to eat to control your blood sugar level. 
Eating food is the only way to resolve this type of hunger. 

Taste hunger
“I would kill for a chocolate chip cookie right now”- something a person who is experiencing taste hunger would say. 
Taste hunger, or mouth hunger is a craving for specific food and can be felt alongside or outside physical hunger (2). One thing to remember is that taste hunger is also a valid type of hunger! It’s okay to eat even if you are not hungry, but are craving a specific food. Healthy eating includes eating for pleasure and enjoyment, not just for pure nutrition! 

Emotional hunger
Emotional hunger can refer to either eating in a response to your emotions or can also be describing the learned behaviour around food. Sometimes it can be hard to tell apart emotional and physical hunger, but there are some characteristics that help distinguish the two. Emotional hunger tends to come on quickly, whereas physical hunger is felt hours after the last meal. Craving something specific rather can also be a sign of emotional hunger. It definitely takes some practice to be able to differentiate the two (1). 


Remember, that eating is a valid response to any type of these hungers. Learning the difference between the three types can provide you with the information about the ways you can satisfy your hunger and stay mindful about it. 


To learn more about how to listen to your different types of hunger and eat more mindfully, read this article. You can also head to Remix Snacks website to find more blogs on intuitive and mindful eating. 

References:
  1. Fletcher, M. (2011.). Different Types of Hunger [PDF].
  2. Hartley, R. (2019, August 01). Four Types of Hunger in Intuitive Eating: Physical Hunger, Emotional Hunger, Taste Hunger and Practical Hunger. Retrieved from https://www.rachaelhartleynutrition.com/blog/four-types-of-hunger-in-intuitive-eating