Empty Stomach Hunger

December 2020

Did you know that empty stomach hunger is a false hunger?

That’s right. Empty stomach hunger is actually a reflection of our reptilian brain survival response.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived during a time where perpetual and alternating conditions of either “feast or “famine” was normal and expected. Food was either abundant, or it was scarce. Therefore, a key adaptation that our ancestors had to make was learning to “eat their fill” whenever food was available. This ensured that their bodies would be well-nourished for the inevitable periods where access to food was not guaranteed.

You still carry this evolutionary mechanism with you today. This is why when your stomach is not completely full, your body will tell you, “If I see food, I should eat it.”

Now, think about how the conditions of food availability have changed in most of today’s modern world. Think about how nowadays, we basically always have the “feast” (plentiful) but never the “famine” conditions.

What do you suppose happens when a constant overabundance of food meets this old evolutionary mechanism? That’s right; over-eating, weight gain, and the myriad of health and wellness problems that are bound to follow.

To make matters worse, as a result of this constant over-eating, your stomach wall stretches and expands, which increases your perception of an empty stomach. The stomach is naturally about the size of your fist, but after years and decades of eating too much, the tissue enlarges to well beyond its natural size. This gives the illusion that your stomach is not completely full and that you should continue eating, and the cycle continues.

Next time you feel an empty stomach, try to procrastinate reacting to it with food at first. With so much food available to you now, you don’t need to respond to this feeling every time you feel it. Drink some water and wait an hour instead.

Trust us, you won't starve - if you’ve ever fasted, you’ll know that the body can go for days on an empty stomach without feeling hungry.