Foods That Make You Hungry
Increasing appetite can be important for people who are under weight, going through emotional stress, recovering from being sick, on or post chemo therapy. On the other hand, some people are looking to avoid foods that increase appetite and situations that can easily increase the amount of food someone eats.
Here are certain foods and other influences that can increase the appetite, whether you’re looking to avoid these situations for weight loss or looking to increase hunger for various reasons. You can also read: 10 ways to suppress your appetite and How to suppress hunger without food
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a common flavor agent in Asian foods, ramen noodles and other processed foods to increase over all umami flavor. Umami is considered a 5th flavor that encompasses savory/earthy tastes. Questionable side effects from MSG have long been speculated to include headaches or digestive issues.
However, MSG could also be linked to overweight/obesity according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers from UNC concluded that overweight prevalence was significantly higher in MSG users compared to non-MSG users. This could imply that eating foods with MSG promotes hunger and food intake.
A study from Physiology Behavior suggested that when research participants were given a meal with MSG compared to a non-MSG meal, desire to eat another meal was higher in the MSG meal. MSG can work as an appetite stimulant, but may have other unpleasant health effects on certain people.
If you want to avoid the possible increase in hunger from MSG, ask restaurant staff when eating out of they add MSG, and check food labels before purchasing processed foods.
Once simple carbohydrates like sugary beverages, sweets, white breads, pasta, bagels, etc. have been digested, there is a large rise in blood sugar levels. As a result, insulin is secreted in large amounts to lower the blood sugar levels.
Insulin is needed to bring the sugar from the blood into body cells for energy. When there is a large rise in blood sugar, insulin is released in a large amount. When insulin levels rise, blood sugar levels drop.
When blood sugar levels drop, this is a cue to the brain that it is time to eat again. Eating meals or snacks with only simple sugars will cause a high rise in blood sugar, but then blood sugar levels will soon crash down signaling an increase in hunger.
Tangy fruits and spices
A common antidote on many websites for low appetite is to eat fruits like red currants, apricots, dates and figs. However, there is not a lot of research or validity to back up these claims. They may work to increase appetite, but the cause is not clearly specified.
Other websites promote cinnamon, cardamom or fennel. One theory why these spices may work to increase hunger is because they signal the smell sense strongly. If something smells good, you are more likely to indulge in the food. These spices have other potential health benefits as well, including blood sugar regulation from ground cinnamon.
Eye appealing food
It sounds simple, but if you are trying to increase someone’s appetite, make the food look eye appealing. The saying is true, “You eat with your eyes first.” If something looks visually appealing and smells good, that can increase appetite even before eating.
Making meals colorful for visual stimulation can also increase appetite and food intake for children.
Other ways to stimulate hunger
Burning extra calories can have an anorexic effect immediately after exercise, meaning you may not want to eat a big meal right when you get done exercising, but 30-60 minutes after exercise appetite is usually increased. See also: How long should you wait to work out after eating?
If someone is struggling with a low appetite, getting in some exercise can help stimulate hunger and over all food intake.
Eat in a group
Various research suggests group dynamics can play a role in how much food people eat. Some people eat more in a group of people, like family and friends, they are comfortable with. Some people eat less in a group setting compared to alone, but that is a smaller percentage of people.
Eating with people you are not familiar with can lower food intake, but if the group is composed of people you feel comfortable around chances are you will eat more food than if you were to eat a meal by yourself.
In general, making meal times pleasant could help increase appetite and food intake. If the focus is on the food or control of eating, food intake and appetite can decrease.
There are a variety of reasons why someone would or wouldn’t want to increase hunger. Foods with added MSG could increase hunger and may be associated with weight gain. MSG may also have some unpleasant side effects.
Refined carbohydrates, tangy fruits, and certain spices may increase appetite. With refined carbohydrates, appetite increase usually happens soon after eating them because of the rise and fall of blood sugar.
Other ways to stimulate appetite include making food look visually appealing, exercise and eating with a group.
References used in this article