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Deficit = Hunger ?

sloth3toessloth3toes Posts: 2,209Member Member Posts: 2,209Member Member
If a person is used to eating a certain number of calories to support their current weight... wouldn't it be natural for them to feel hungry, when they reduce that number to a deficit? Is it reasonable to tell people that they shouldn't feel hungry if they 'are doing this right?'

Quite simply. Shouldn't anyone eating at a deficit, naturally feel hungry?
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Replies

  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    Not necessarily. Hunger signaling isn't directly related to calories. Macro distribution, calorie density, water, etc all affect hunger signaling.

    If one eats less calorie dense food (fresh produce, etc..) it will reduce hunger signaling.

  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    No, I've never found that being at a deficit caused hunger. For me it's about macros and volume, as well as habit (mental hunger).
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Posts: 9,644Member Member Posts: 9,644Member Member
    Not necessarily. A chicken and vegetable stew has about the same calories per bowl as a slice of commercial pizza, but the first fills you up and the second doesn't. This is actually the reason why we see several threads of people proclaiming they are finding it hard to hit their calorie goal because they feel too full, and it's almost always caused by changing from a low volume high calorie diet to a high volume low calorie diet.

    Yesterday was my birthday and a normal sized slice of my mom's mousse cake (1/16 of the cake) had 788 calories. Imagine how much produce and lean meat you can eat for that amount!
  • MelodyandBarbellsMelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,637Member Member Posts: 7,637Member Member
    But people are also told all things in moderation. The calorie dense items will take a couple hundred calories off the top and leave you with even less to work with. I do notice hunger more when I'm at a deficit (sans exercise) and not very busy. What people are also told is that hunger doesn't necessarily mean stuff your face immediately - you may feel hungry sometimes but have to ignore it, eat something small, or wait an hour or so until meal time

    Daily calorie strategy could also be a factor. If you're eating back exercise calories some days but not others, you may feel hungrier when you have less to work with. YMMV!

    Basically I treat the "you're doing it wrong" comments as food for thought, not gospel
  • Annie_01Annie_01 Posts: 3,115Member Member Posts: 3,115Member Member
    In my experience...it is about quantity of food and frequency of eating. I won't say that calories has nothing to do with it however. If I eat a calorie dense item such as pizza, pasta...etc. I don't seem to get hungry(or feel the need to eat) as quickly.

    Only speaking for myself...there are many times that boredom/habit disguises itself as hunger pains...regardless of how many calories that I have ingested.

    I don't think that I am the only one so I think that many of us have used the "full/stuffed" feeling to indicate if we are hungry or not.

    OP...maybe I went in a different direction than what you intended but I think that feeling hungry for some of us has long been covered up with other reasons for thinking we are hungry.

    I think that many of us have had to relearn what being hungry is vs thinking we are hungry.
  • MelodyandBarbellsMelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,637Member Member Posts: 7,637Member Member
    Hmm. Isn't that hungry vs. "do I need to eat"? To me, if you're hungry no matter the reason, you're hungry
  • Annie_01Annie_01 Posts: 3,115Member Member Posts: 3,115Member Member
    JaneiR36 wrote: »
    Hmm. Isn't that hungry vs. "do I need to eat"? To me, if you're hungry no matter the reason, you're hungry

    Are you addressing me?

    Want and need to eat are two different things. I often want to eat and can convince myself that I am hungry and that I need to eat. If I am honest with myself I often don't need to eat and if I really examine my feelings I am not in the least hungry.

    Maybe my brain took me in a different direction than what the OP intended. IDK
  • zcb94zcb94 Posts: 4,191Member Member Posts: 4,191Member Member
    Hm. That's definitely food for thought (pardon the pun). I was told that moderate residual hunger after a meal was normal, because you technically only need a few bites of food before your body should take over, thus burning some calories for you via your natural metabolism. Therefore, I am pretty sure that if I'm doing it right, I shouldn't be HANGRY, but not stuffed either. Just my humble opinion.
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Posts: 9,644Member Member Posts: 9,644Member Member
    zcb94 wrote: »
    Hm. That's definitely food for thought (pardon the pun). I was told that moderate residual hunger after a meal was normal, because you technically only need a few bites of food before your body should take over, thus burning some calories for you via your natural metabolism. Therefore, I am pretty sure that if I'm doing it right, I shouldn't be HANGRY, but not stuffed either. Just my humble opinion.

    You could be hungry, and you could be stuffed on the same calorie amount. It really depends on your calorie budget and your food choices. The hardest thing about dieting is being able to balance and judge what calories are worth it and what aren't. Sometimes hunger is an acceptable tradeoff to be able to have a high calorie food you particularly want, other times it isn't.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    Annie_01 wrote: »
    JaneiR36 wrote: »
    Hmm. Isn't that hungry vs. "do I need to eat"? To me, if you're hungry no matter the reason, you're hungry

    Are you addressing me?

    Want and need to eat are two different things. I often want to eat and can convince myself that I am hungry and that I need to eat. If I am honest with myself I often don't need to eat and if I really examine my feelings I am not in the least hungry.

    I'm exactly the same way.

    I find that if I think about what I've eaten and how soon I plan to eat and ask myself "am I really that hungry" I nearly always conclude that I can wait. Sometimes I still WANT to eat, though.

    Also, if I'm really hungry (or think I am), quite low cal food can fill me up. I see this even on days I fast (like Ash Wednesday). If I don't eat anything 'til dinner time of course I will be hungry, but if I eat a plate full of vegetables I will be okay (not stuffed, but not hungry). Not saying this is a good strategy in general, but if I do think I'm hungry I can usually just eat some veg or a piece of fruit.

    As for being stuffed, I don't see it as the definition of not being hungry. I don't think one should ever feel stuffed, really -- I find it unpleasant.
    edited February 2016
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    Not necessarily. Hunger signaling isn't directly related to calories. Macro distribution, calorie density, water, etc all affect hunger signaling.

    If one eats less calorie dense food (fresh produce, etc..) it will reduce hunger signaling.

    If we had a proper calorie meter in our body that controls hunger, it is hard to imagine we'd have overweight individuals.
  • sndrd49sndrd49 Posts: 234Member Member Posts: 234Member Member
    Happy Birthday Monkey!
  • snickerscharliesnickerscharlie Posts: 8,227Member Member Posts: 8,227Member Member
    sndrd49 wrote: »
    Happy Birthday Monkey!

    ^^^ This.

    And I'll bet your mom's cake is nirvana on a plate.

    For 788 cals per 1/16th it had better be! :)
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Posts: 9,644Member Member Posts: 9,644Member Member
    sndrd49 wrote: »
    Happy Birthday Monkey!
    sndrd49 wrote: »
    Happy Birthday Monkey!

    ^^^ This.

    And I'll bet your mom's cake is nirvana on a plate.

    For 788 cals per 1/16th it had better be! :)

    Oh thank you both!

    I can safely say that this cake is the most delicious cake I have ever had and probably will ever have. I ask for it every year. It actually has zero flour. It uses things like ground hazelnuts, 3.5 bars of dark chocolate, lots of heavy cream, egg yolks...etc. Lots of fatty things. That's why the calorie count is so high.
    edited February 2016
  • rainbowbowrainbowbow Posts: 7,497Member Member Posts: 7,497Member Member
    This is an interesting idea, unfortunately, our hunger is fueled by the hormones leptin and ghrelin not necessarily the calories we intake.
    "Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that have been recognized to have a major influence on energy balance. Leptin is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance, suppressing food intake and thereby inducing weight loss. Ghrelin on the other hand is a fast-acting hormone, seemingly playing a role in meal initiation. As a growing number of people suffer from obesity, understanding the mechanisms by which various hormones and neurotransmitters have influence on energy balance has been a subject of intensive research. "

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793

    "Levels of leptin -- the appetite suppressor -- are lower when you're thin and higher when you're fat. But many obese people have built up a resistance to the appetite-suppressing effects of leptin, says obesity expert Mary Dallman, PhD, from University of California at San Francisco."

    "Ghrelin, the appetite increaser, is released primarily in the stomach and is thought to signal hunger to the brain. You'd expect the body to increase ghrelin if a person is undereating and decrease it if he or she is overeating. Sure enough, ghrelin levels have been found to increase in children with anorexia nervosa and decrease in children who are obese."

    http://www.webmd.com/diet/your-hunger-hormones

    Appetite suppression:
    So while these two hormones are mainly responsible for our feelings of hunger, the mechanisms by which they work are complex and entirely different. Leptin which is produced by fat cells SHOULD theoretically keep your appetite lower the more body fat you have to produce it. As stated above, some people may experience a resistance to this (especially if they are overweight for an extended period of time).

    Hunger:
    Ghrelin on the other hand is produced in the gut when it's empty and is lowered significantly when food has been eaten (specifically when the stomach is stretched). After eating it takes about 3 hours for ghrelin levels to shoot back up enough to increase appetite.

    So, unfortunately, no. It doesn't have anything to do with the specific number of calories you are eating, but more to do with the volume of food in your stomach, when/how often you eat, the rate of digestion of the foods you eat, etc. This is why you commonly see people recommending a higher volume of low calorie veggies, increased fats, increased water intake, increased meal frequency, and increased fiber to help satiate their hunger.

    You can also see a bunch of dumb products being made like "full bar" which use this mechanism to their advantage. Hell, there's even surgery like the lap band, stomach stapling, etc. to trigger the stomach being stretched and decreasing ghrelin levels.

    It's important to note, that you absolutely CAN push past and just "deal" with being hungry while being on a deficit. But for most people this makes them more likely to binge or go off on a tangent eating all the things.

    They've developed a hunger chart and have certain recommendations to help people who are gaining or losing stay on track. It's ideal for the average person to stay within the 4-6 range at all times.

    hunger-scale-2.png


    Anecdotally, I find that after eating a certain amount of food (in a deficit OR surplus) I generally level out after a few weeks. When losing the hunger goes away and becomes normal, and when gaining, I go from being sickly full to a bottomless pit.
    edited February 2016
  • dubirddubird Posts: 1,854Member Member Posts: 1,854Member Member
    sloth3toes wrote: »
    If a person is used to eating a certain number of calories to support their current weight... wouldn't it be natural for them to feel hungry, when they reduce that number to a deficit? Is it reasonable to tell people that they shouldn't feel hungry if they 'are doing this right?'

    Quite simply. Shouldn't anyone eating at a deficit, naturally feel hungry?

    I did at first, but that's because I wasn't changing what I ate, just how much. And my diet before was mostly high calorie/low nutrient options. So of course, when I lessen the amount of that, I'm eating less food overall, and was hungry. Which is why I would always give up. Learning to lessen the amount of what I ate while replacing some choices with lower calorie foods made a HUGE difference. Doing so meant that I was eating the same amount of food, but as they were lower calorie, would still help me stay at goal. So while going into a calorie deficit can make you hungry, it doesn't have to.

    I always think of the 'this is how much food is X# of calories' videos that I've seen. A 250 calorie candy bar is a small amount of food, where as 250 calories of vegetables is a large amount of food. I hope I'm making sense!
  • RoxieDawnRoxieDawn Posts: 15,518Member Member Posts: 15,518Member Member
    Not necessarily. Hunger signaling isn't directly related to calories. Macro distribution, calorie density, water, etc all affect hunger signaling.

    +1.



  • OishiiOishii Posts: 2,629Member Member Posts: 2,629Member Member
    I think my body is pretty accurate at calorie counting and calls me out on any deficit by sending hunger signals. I can feel stuffed with low calorie density foods, but still hungry because my body can tell it does not have easy access to the calories needed to keep it going.

    Unfortunately, for survival's sake, our bodies would rather like us to eat more than we need, and want to prevent us eating less than we need. We have a history of surviving lean times thanks to this.

    If a deficit never made me hungry I would be worried that something was wrong with me.
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