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Why do people get hungry?

Dear Zahra:

It's important to separate appetite from hunger. Appetite is an urge to eat a certain food. This can be brought on by smelling cookies as they bake, seeing a food commercial on TV, or even just thinking about food. Hunger is a combination of two situations that happen inside your body.

First, your stomach is empty. Your stomach's wave-like contractions that normally occur to help digest food will feel stronger. They may actually feel painful to some people. Your stomach also becomes noisy and begins to rumble.

Second, your bloodstream has to have a certain amount of glucose in it at all times. Glucose comes from the food you eat. It gives your cells enough fuel to work properly. If you haven't eaten in a while, your blood's glucose level-drops. All the cells in your body are asking for food! This may cause you to feel grumpy, weak, or nervous. It often becomes difficult to concentrate, because the desire for something to eat is so strong.

Once you get something to eat, your stomach quiets down, and your blood sugar rises. You feel more relaxed and can concentrate again. You're not hungry anymore, but you still may have an appetite for dessert!

(For more information about the stomach, see "Your Body's Food Factory" on page 34.)
COPYRIGHT 1996 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Mar 1, 1996
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