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Physical Hunger vs. Emotional Hunger

Emotional Hunger

Hunger is the term which is referred to the compelling need or desire to food and it is a feeling experienced by people when they need to eat food.

Hunger becomes a problem or disease when a person eats without knowing he is doing that or eating to overcome his/ her emotional feelings. Hunger can be classified into two different types such as physical hunger and emotional hunger.

Physical Hunger

The physical hunger is the common and gradual hunger and it involves a slow and steady development of clues which informs the person to eat. First a person feels the emptiness of the stomach and then a rumbling of stomach later which gives the clue that it is the time to take the food.

Emotional Hunger

The Emotional hunger occurs suddenly and people like to eat food during emotions like stress, sad, angry, anxiety, depression, and more.  There are some symptoms of emotional eating to identify whether a person is an emotional eater or not, and the symptoms are as follows:

  • When a person eats on an odd emotion such as sad, anger or more.
  • People eat frequently and feels guilty or ashamed after eating
  • When people eats after an unpleasant occasion such as arguments, death or more.
  • When the person overeats without feeling hungry
  • When people eat frequently or over eats until they feel tired or uncomfortable

There are two main factors which confuse the people to identify whether the hunger is emotional or physical

  • Emotional emptiness will make a person to feel as physical hunger
  • People who starve themselves with dieting will lose connection and cannot able to find whether they are hunger or not.

There are huge differences between emotional and physical hunger, some of the differences are listed below

Sudden vs. gradual

(a) Emotional hunger

People does not feel hungry at one minute but the next minute they feel starving which means that emotional hunger always occurs all of a sudden.

(b) Physical hunger

The people feel a slow and steady rumbling of stomach which remains them to eat and it makes the hunger for a person gradually.

Specific food vs. different food

(a) Emotional hunger

This is the hunger which makes the people to tend towards a specific food such as pasta, chocolates, cakes, etc and there are no alternatives.

(b) Physical hunger

With physical hunger the person’s mind is open to variety of food to fulfill their hunger and they are flexible with their food items.

Based on Mind vs. stomach

(a) Emotional

Here in this hunger the person eats on their emotion and the craving begins in the mouth and the mind as their mind tempts to eat their favorite food items.

(b) Physical

The physical hunger is completely based on the stomach sensation and person can feel a real rumbling, emptiness or gnawing of the stomach for a need of food.

Urgent vs. Patient

(a) Emotional

The emotional eaters urge to eat even if they have sufficient food and they feel an emotional pain with food.

(b) Physical

The physical hungers are always patient and they won have a command over food as they eat at the right time.

Emotion vs. physical need

(a) Emotional

This is the most common difference between the two hungers. The emotional hunger always occurs with the emotional situation or upsets like sad, argument, death, anxiety etc.

(b) Physical

The physical hunger occurs only after four or five hours after last meal and the physical hunger tends the person to eat by reducing the body energy.

There are simple steps and procedures to overcome the emotional eating as it leads to obesity and interferes in weight management. Emotional eaters mostly fond of fatty or junk foods such as cheese, pizza, sandwiches, and more and they play a vital role in obesity and other health problems.


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