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Thread: Isnt hunger based on energy demand?

  1. #1 Isnt hunger based on energy demand? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    A friend tells me that hunger is only regulated by blood sugar but this cant be right can it? What if a neanderthal was eating and/or drinking things that kept his blood sugar at a non-hungry state. Wouldnt it die since it wouldnt know it was malnutritioned and undereating, according to the demands of energy its body would require?

    Very confused because i thought lack of calories/energy induced the sense of hunger.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Well as far as I know, and I could (likely) be wrong.

    Blood transports the nutrients to your body. If you're well fed you will likely have appropriate blood sugar, so your cells are getting what they need If you're not eating much at all, your blood wont have much sugar in it because you're not giving it anything to replenish the sugar your cells are using.

    There is likely a correlation between blood sugar levels, hunger levels, and food intake.

    Low blood sugar, tells you to eat something, to bring your blood sugar back up to where it needs to be to supply the cells with the nutrition and sugar they need to survive.

    But like I said, I don't know if that's true, just something that would make logical sense to me. Someone who knows more will likely post.

    Always minimize the variables.

    Semper Paratus
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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Hunger and satiation vary a lot between individuals and also societies. Babies learn to sense/become conscious of hunger and through weaning and adulthood continue learning (or unlearning).

    For humans, and other mammalian omnivores like rats, animal fat in the gut very effectively satiates, by volume. Of course milk's the obvious suspect, but later we may learn to eat a pepperoni stick or piece of cheese. Simple volume is somewhat effective.

    It's true we have a metabolic sense, that normally cues hunger in addition to what's happening in the digestive tract. Low blood sugar does cause hunger. How this metabolic need impinges on the conscious mind is not understood... not understood at all, as far as I know. Diabetes research might have turned up some clues.

    Raziell you noted that a person could ...would... satiate hunger without sensing malnourishment. I think you meant the Neanderthal would get sufficient calories but not nutrients. I believe this is a serious problem we should investigate. Plainly people did somehow "just know" or learn to eat a range of nutrients, before the discovery and application of vitamins. I think people sensed particular food-nutrient cravings, they learned by metabolic deficit and experience of certain foods alleviating the deficit.

    Today food cravings are mangled and misunderstood. Generally when nutritionists talk about food cravings they mean the (bad! bad!) urge to glut on ice cream and potato chips. It's difficult to find a human sample where food cravings function naturally, to ensure adequate nutrition.

    I hypothesize that the modern diet of balanced meals, nutrient-enriched foods, and vitamin supplements, dulls our natural metabolic nutrient sense and "gut-learning". We can't naturally associate any particular foods with their nutrient values because our systems are overwhelmed with nutrients from undefinable sources.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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