The feeling of hunger is definitely not the most pleasant one, but is it, according to the popular beliefs, connected with muscle catabolism in any way? Many people believe that it is. But it's good to think if such belief is justified, and if it is – what mechanism is the base of such dependency, and, obviously, if anything can be done to prevent it?
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Where does the feeling of hunger come from?
The feeling of hunger is very close to our nature, as it is connected with the condition of lack of availability of energy and protein from food. In the course of evolution, human body has developed quite complicated set of mechanisms, which lets it control hunger and, therefore, alleviate the demand for nutrients. When those mechanisms work well, it is possible to cover the body's needs with the minimal risk of excessive body fattening. Besides, it can be seen in nature – it's hard to find a wild animal suffering from overweight or obesity. The problem is that during the process of regulating the intake of food, hormones and neuropeptides are not the only participants, but there are also various outside factors, such as:
visual, aromatic and other stimulants.
The control of hunger and the choice of products
The properties of eaten food are really important for hunger control. The appearance, smell and taste, as well as temperature, texture and the presence of particular ingredients, all influence the fact if the product is filling, or increases the willingness of further consumption. In case of some foodstuffs, we feel satiety faster during consuming them and we also feel filled for longer period of time, than in case of other food products. Such difference happens despite similar calorific content of those two products.
The feeling of hunger and muscle catabolism
The feeling of hunger is often connected with muscle catabolism. After all, hunger means that the body has no access to the energetic and building components from food, so it naturally extracts it from... muscles. Well, such claim seems to be convincing, but is not necessarily true. It's good to know that the dependency mentioned above would be true, if the centres of hunger and satiety reacted only to the biochemical changes in muscle tissue, which are connected with the processes of muscle catabolism. Whereas, it is known that it's not like this.
In other words – hunger may be initiated by many other factors, such as the smell of your favourite dish (who hasn't experienced that...?). And it's hard to believe that in such situation the body starts to digest its own muscles. Even if it was like that, it would turn out that e.g. the smell of roasted chicken or fried steak is catabolic for us.
Hunger in “other” circumstances
In some cases, the feeling of hunger appears when the body has enough energy and building materials. It happens in case of overweight, which is accompanied by the phenomenon of leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone, which takes part in the regulation process of hunger). As a result, you can feel hunger even when the energy reserves are filled and muscles have full access to amino acids.
Hunger and appetite
It's also good to mention, that the feeling of hunger is often mixed with appetite, the craving for eating particular kind of food. Additionally, we also seem to overdraw the discomfort connected with this feeling. Nowadays, there aren't many people who suffer from “real hunger”, i.e. the state which takes away all the attention and can appear after 2 – 3 days of total fasting. That's when hunger is connected with muscle catabolism...
The feeling of hunger may, but doesn't have to, be connected with muscle catabolism. First of all, malnutrition causing the feeling of hunger doesn't have to harm muscles. Second of all, hunger may be caused by other factors than energy insufficiency in diet. Third of all, hunger is often mixed with appetite, i.e. the craving for particular kind of food. And, finally, fourth of all, modern hunger is more the discomfort connected with emptying stomach than the real condition of disordered body's homeostasis accompanied by muscle catabolism...
W artykule mówimy o: Diets and healthy food