Are you really hungry? Or do you just need a hit of comfort food? Here’s how to know the difference, according to Dr. Gary Foster, the director of Temple University’s obesity research center:
First, ask yourself: Am I hungry for a specific food? Like salted caramel ice cream or a Doritos Locos Taco? If you’re craving something specific, it’s most likely not real hunger. It’s what Dr. Foster calls “reward-driven hunger.”
Next ask yourself: Is my stomach growling? Do I have hunger pangs? If the answer is yes, it’s real hunger, what Dr. Foster calls “physiological hunger.”
Finally ask yourself: Have I eaten in the last four hours? If you have, your hunger is a “reward-driven” craving. If you haven’t eaten, it’s probably real “physiological hunger.” Basically, think of it this way: Reward-driven hunger is a false signal to eat. You’re not starving, you’re reaching for food out of habit or to soothe your emotions.