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The Difference Between a Craving and Hunger

Craving vs. Hunger: What's the Difference?

OK so we have all these great ways on how to curb cravings but how can you tell if it's just a craving or if you're genuinely hungry? In the heat of the moment (say, just before you deep dive into a tub of chocolate cookie dough) it's not always that easy to determine which you're feeling, so ask yourself one simple question: Is it your mind talking or your stomach?

Still not sure, then use the little chart below to help you determine if you're genuinely hungry or just having a craving:

Craving Hunger
  • You are not physiologically hungry, just emotionally.
  • Only one food will alleviate your craving and the emotion intensifies the more you focus on it.
  • Cravings pass and go away if you give them time. Doing something else satisfies and distracts you and the craving usually disappears.
  • You are physically hungry and getting signals from your stomach (growls, pangs, or hollow feelings)
    and your brain (fogginess, lack of concentration, headache, or fatigue).
  • Any food will alleviate your hunger.
  • Hunger does not go away unless you eat.


Join The Conversation
rpenner rpenner 9 years
i always get cravings. and i usually give in to them. it's terrible
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I sometimes get cravings for very specific foods, like dill pickles or barbecue sauce. I definitely know the difference between when just about anything will satisfy my hunger and HAVING to have a certain food.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I only get cravings because I really don't listen to my body at all and hardly ever let myself get hungry, I just shove whatever I want at the time in my face and eat.
elle86 elle86 9 years
Thanks for breaking it down like that. Good post! It helped me understand better the difference b/t the two.
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
I had a total attack of the "cravings" last night...and although the little voice inside my head was screaming at me to not eat or give in, i did. I cant seem to fight the cravings...its so frustrating! :(
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that so many of us get confused about that. for myself - i get a pang of craving of something, and take that to mean that i'm hungry - but i'm a masochist so i won't eat then anyway. i like the breakdown though about how to know when you're hungry or not.
raieven raieven 9 years
wow-all i get are cravings!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
When I'm PMSing it's all about cravings...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Cravings! I get so many! But I am slowly starting to be able to handle them a bit just not allowing myself that food...ignoring it...
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