Hunger Scale

There are many signals that tell us it’s time to eat (other than a rumbling stomach): television ads, social events, smells from the food court, and the candy bowl at the office. These factors in the environment trigger our senses and other mental processes that make us think we are hungry even when we’re not.

The Hunger Rating Scale can help you decide if you are experiencing real hunger.

0-3 (Empty > Ravenous > Over Hungry > Hunger Pangs) – Don’t let yourself get here. When we’re extremely hungry, it’s super easy to overeat. Eat slowly and fill up on whole foods.

3-6 (Hunger Pangs > Hunger Awakens > Neutral > Just Satisfied) – When you feel hunger pangs, that’s a good thing. We’re meant to feel hungry. Honour that hinger and nourish your body with whole foods.

6-7.5 (Just Satisfied > Completely Satisfied) – An awesome place to be in. When you’re satisfied, appreciate that feeling and let it guide you to finish your meal or snack.

7.5-10 (Completely Satisfied > Full > Stuffed > Sick) – Becoming uncomfortably full feels awful. Simply remember to tune-in, listen to your body, and honour your hunger and fullness.

Remember that physical hunger builds gradually over time (usually over several hours after a meal), whereas emotional eating and cravings usually come on very suddenly. Learn to differentiate between the two. Stay healthy.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. My grandmother used to tell me that we eat to keep from becoming hungry instead of waiting until we are extremely hungry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      You’re probably already familiar with the effects of eating a sugary, empty-calorie treat like a cookie or brownie. You chow down on it, hoping it’ll relieve your hunger and reduce your desire for something sweet, but it backfires on you. An hour later you’re again hungry and craving something sweet. Plus, you feel tired due to the roller coaster ride your blood sugar has been on. Would eating something nutrient-dense be better?

      In a study published in the Nutrition Journal, researchers looked at the effect eating a nutrient-dense diet would have on hunger. They asked 768 people to change their diet from one low in nutrients, a typical junk food and processed food diet, to one that’s nutrient dense, with greater amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. While on the two diets, they were asked to rate hunger levels at various times throughout the day along with other physical and emotional symptoms.

      The results? When on a nutrient-dense diet, the participants experienced a dramatic decrease in hunger – even when they skipped meals, and they tolerated periods of hunger better than when they ate a less nutrient-rich diet. Plus, they experienced fewer unpleasant physical sensations when they missed a meal like headaches, anxiety, and changes in mood. All in all, their hunger was better controlled and they experienced fewer physical symptoms of hunger when they ate a diet rich in nutrients.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. gpavants says:


    Finding that sweet spot, or healthy spot is the key, right? I have had the famished and not fun to the point of feeling sick.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Yes Gary. Increasing the nutrient density of the meals is a step we can take towards feeling full. Another trick to feel full faster is to manage stress. Stress is one of the major causes of overeating. Your mind and body are busy processing your problems, draining your energy faster than usual.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. gpavants says:

        Lots of things going on with eating. I can see that. If one issue is out of balance eating can be counter productive.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. GS says:

        Yes Gary. Always Right!


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