Are You Hungry or Thirsty?

Are You Hungry or Thirsty?

On 10 Dec 2014, in Wellness, health

By Melissa Lueking, MD

Our stomachs love to make noise. It's what they do. Their entire job is to gurgle and churn and make acid to break down food and beverage into tiny particles that our body can use for energy. This makes some noise along the way, and it has nothing to do with hunger.

The signals for hunger and thirst are nearly identical. Why? It is because the signals for hunger and thirst both come from the hypothalamus in the brain and trigger the same sensations. Unless you are more than 5 percent dehydrated, you won't have that dry mouth feeling to distinguish thirst from hunger, and the two needs will feel exactly the same.

A very simple test is to drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If you were hungry, you will still be hungry and have hopefully used this time to think of something healthy to eat. If you were thirsty, you likely solved your problem and eliminated over-eating those additional calories.

Also, our body likes to misinterpret fatigue as hunger. So if your stomach lets out a mighty rumble close to bedtime, you should probably drink some water and go to bed.

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