Could water be the key to snacking less?
With a New Year comes a whole host of new health aims. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to be more active, eat healthily or both, it’s water that could provide the health and fitness answers you’ve been searching for.
The truth is many people confuse hunger with thirst, a fact that means most overeat when they should be hydrating. Drinking water isn’t the lifelong hydration habit it used to be, but could water be the key to snacking less and taking full control of your weight?
In this blog post, we reveal how you can tell the difference between hunger and thirst so you can put your health and hydration first throughout 2020 and beyond.
Why hunger and thirst get confused
There’s a very simple reason why hunger and thirst often get confused. The same part of your brain is in fact in charge of emitting hunger and thirst signals and these signals can easily become mixed.
If you’ve confused thirst and hunger, you’re not alone. According to Warren Pole, co-founder of sports nutrition brand 33Fuel, 62% of people confuse hunger and thirst.
Everyone will mistake thirst for hunger at some point, but knowing the signs of both will ensure you can make the right decision about whether it’s a drink or a snack you reach for.
Signs you’re hungry
The signs of hunger differ slightly to the signs of thirst. When hunger strikes, you’ll have an empty feeling in your stomach, which may begin to rumble or gurgle.
You may become dizzy, nauseous, and develop a headache. Your mood will also be affected by hunger, with irritability and concentration problems being two of the most commonly experienced issues. Signs of hunger tend to come on gradually, not right away.
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to eat every three to four hours to keep feelings of hunger at bay. If it’s only been a short time since your last meal or snack, then you are unlikely to be hungry.
Signs you’re thirsty
Thirst affects the body and mind in more ways than many people think. Your skin and eyes will become drier as a result of not drinking enough water. You’ll also be more prone to headaches, dizziness, and nausea. You will feel sluggish without the right hydration, but your heart rate will increase as your organs work harder to compensate for the fluid restriction.
Staying hydrated at all times is the easiest way to avoid thirst. Registered dietitian and nutritionist Carrie Dennett details how you can make sure you’re drinking enough:
“Let thirst be your guide, or you can use the general recommendation to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, more if it’s hot outside or you are exercising. If you are drinking enough water, your urine should be very pale yellow. (It’s darker when you’re dehydrated.) Once you’ve eliminated mild dehydration as a cause of whatever sensations you’re feeling, it’s easier to identify hunger.”
Staying hydrated on the go is integral to hitting those daily water targets and keeping feelings of thirst at bay. Read our golden rules for doing just that for the latest advice.