Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Benefits of hunger - Hunger is good for you

Hunger used to be a natural part of human life. In the wild, it is still a part of every animal's life. Our bodies are built to live and thrive in a natural environment. There are certain processes that occur during hunger. There are also processes can only occur during hunger. By giving our bodies time to go hungry, we allow them to do things that they can't always get done with a full belly. Here are some of the reasons why taking a little longer to eat your next meal might actually benefit you in the long run:

The benefits of being hungry

1) Hunger increases the release of ghrelin

Ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. It is secreted by the stomach, small intestine, pancreas and the brain. Ghrelin is released to make you hungry. It signals the need for food. That feeling of hunger and craving for food that you feel before a meal is caused by ghrelin. This hormone might be secreted around meal times to remind you to eat, but it has a host of beneficial benefits of its own:

Ghrelin stimulates Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production

Human Growth Hormone (HGH for short) is extremely beneficial. It helps to build muscle, increases physical and mental recovery and improves fat metabolism. This is why HGH is often used as a steroid by bodybuilders. This is also the reason why GABA, the supplement that is used as a precursor to HGH, is so beneficial in promoting sleep and recovery, fat loss and muscle growth.

Ghrelin promotes a healthy cardiovascular system

Ghrelin has a protective effect on your cardiovascular system. In fact, its role on cardiovascular health has been studied as a treatment for cardiovascular disease. This study proves that ghrelin improves the circulatory system by opening up arteries and decreasing blood pressure. It also increases cardiac performance and reduces the amount of work that it takes the heart to pump blood.

Think about it this way: If an animal has not eaten, it would be beneficial to the animal's body to improve performance so that it can catch food or find it.

Ghrelin helps to control insulin

When we eat, sugar from food is poured into our bloodstream. Insulin is released to shuttle this sugar into the muscles and liver to be stored as glycogen. Excess sugar is stored as fat. When we eat more sugar, more insulin is released to bring blood sugar levels back to normal. When insulin is released too much and too often, our bodies start to build up a tolerance to insulin. This can lead to diabetes.

It would therefore make sense that eating less frequently can lead to fewer insulin secretions and therefore help to increase insulin sensitivity, but the hunger hormone ghrelin takes things one step further by reducing insulin on its own. This is done so that blood sugar does not drop too low, but it is also beneficial in the long term because lower insulin levels generally lead to increased insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity improves the way that your body can handle the sugar that it gets from food.

2) Going without food gives your brain and nervous system a break

Medical Daily covered a study that proved that going without food reduces the amount of synapse activity between neurons and muscle cells. The decreased level of neurotransmitter activity allows the brain, along with the nervous system, to rest and recover.

It makes sense that our body would slow down when fasted, since it does not know when it will have access to nutrients again. Similar to the reasons why we sleep, the slowing down of neurotransmitter activity is supposed to be something that happens regularly. It is more natural to go through periods of increased and decreased activity: even on a neuro-cellular level.

These findings go so far as to demonstrate that fasting could possibly improve the symptoms of people with mental health issues like epilepsy.

3) Fasting boosts mental performance

Jordan Rosenfeld explains that hunger can clear up brain fog and re-energize the brain in the same way that exercise stimulates the body. It increases mental plasticity - The rate at which our brains can adapt to the demands that we place on it. Hunger therefore increases learning and memory. What's more, it will also increase recovery from brain injuries or strokes while having a preventative effect on mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Why does not eating have such a great effect on the brain? An organism is either fighting to adapt and survive or striving to reproduce. What it does is dependent on various conditions. A regular, controlled struggle forces us to adapt by means of homeostasis. Homeostasis is our body's ability to adapt to its surroundings by balancing itself out. Place the right amount of negative stress on your body and it will do the opposite in order to restore balance.

4) Calorie restriction makes you live longer

Calorie restriction leads to a longer lifespan. In this study, monkeys that were given 30% less nutrients than their control group since the ages of 7-14 years were found to exhibit the likeness of monkeys an average of 7 years younger than the control group at ages 22-30 years. The measuring of age-related likeliness was done via blood methylation measurement. This measurement compared genetic age with chronological age.

The study states that the only way known to increase lifespan is through restricting the total amount of calories eaten by an organism without causing malnutrition. Calorie restriction did more than merely reduce the onset of age-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and mental decline. It actually preserves cell integrity and the cell's ability to replicate itself.

To read more about how calorie restriction impacts our bodies on a cellular or genetic level, read Think Big's report on the above study.


When we eat, nutrients from food enter the bloodstream. The body quickly shuttles these nutrients into storage so that our blood composition can return to normal. This reduction leads us to get hungry again before our bodies have a chance to use up that stored energy. This may seem counter-intuitive from a biological standpoint, but this mechanism allows an organism to eat as much as possible when food is available. When food is no longer available, the body should turn to its nutrient storage to fulfill its energetic requirements.

When food is always available, the body never needs to dip into this storage. The other processes that occur while without food, as explained above, don't have a chance to have their positive effect on the body when we don't limit our food intake.

The first time you go without food, you will feel hungry and miserable. This negative feeling will cause your body to adapt. These adaptions are very beneficial. Too much of anything is a bad thing - even too much water can be bad for you. It seems like consuming too much nutrients (or always having the right nutrients) needs to be balanced out with restriction in order to keep as healthy as possible. Stay Strong!

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