Why Do Our Appetites Fluctuate? 

Hunger fluctuates widely and frequently because appetite is influenced by myriad factors ranging from our diet to our hormones to even our mental health

There are days when we are hungrier, while on others, we barely want to have our food like, one day we’re hungry for lunch at noon, another day we’re fine skipping lunch completely. Why do our appetites fluctuate so much?

Hunger fluctuates widely and frequently because appetite is influenced by myriad factors ranging from our diet to our hormones to even our mental health.

According to Dr. Heena Ansari, Dietician, AXIS Hospital, Mumbai, Our appetite is regulated by a complex system of central and peripheral signals. Like, when we are stressed our appetite level may increase which results in an increase of food intake.

Research suggests that alcohol can stimulate nerve cells in the brain’s hypothalamus that increases our appetite. And because alcohol suppresses our self-control, it can lead us to indulge in more food than we would normally. 

Dehydration is one more problem that often occurs in the aftermath of alcohol consumption that leads us to believe that we’re hungry when we are not, it’s just our body needs enough water.

Why does our appetite fluctuate?

Dr. Ansari said, Appetite is regulated by many hormones like Calcitonin, esmylin, GLP leptin, gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin, etc. These are some of the reasons why our appetite fluctuates:

• Decreased desire to eat is termed anorexia.

• Increased appetite is called orexia while polyphagia is increased eating.

• When we lose stored fat our body mounts a major response to conserve energy and boosts appetite defying further weight loss and encourages regain.

• While hypophagia is decreased in hunger.

While, both the hyperphagia and hypophagia are regulated by our brain depending upon the hormones regulated and energy needs.

Moreover, the study also says that having sugary treats can strike the reward center in our brains, and can make us crave more and more food. Similarly, a high-fructose diet may also increase the activity in specific regions of the brain that make a person feel less full, even when they’ve eaten enough from a calorie perspective. 

Other than that, the hormone also plays a big role in our appetite fluctuation. Not getting enough sleep may too disrupt the body’s natural hormonal balance, leading to an increase in ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and a fall in leptin, which decreases it, making us hungrier than usual. 

Mental health can also impact our appetites like depression can lead to a loss of appetite because it inhibits the ability to derive pleasure from anything, even food. Anxiety and stress, on the other hand, can lead to both increase and decrease in hunger but it depends on the severity.

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