We think of hunger and thirst as two distinctly different sensations. So when you feel those familiar, empty pangs in your stomach, your first impulse may be to reach for a snack. But it turns out that your hunger instinct can be a little bit of a trickster, and what you’re really craving may be a clean, refreshing glass of water.
It’s time to answer a question that’s less obvious than it seems: “Am I hungry, or am I thirsty?”
Hunger vs. Thirst
As reported by the PDK Foundation, around 37% of people regularly confuse hunger and thirst. How is it possible that we’re getting such basic instincts mixed up?
Your hunger and thirst impulses are controlled by the same part of your brain, an area known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives information from your nervous system and triggers the appropriate response to maintain balance in your body. However, some of these reactions overlap, so it’s not always obvious which instinct is being affected.
Hunger and thirst, in particular, share several of the same symptoms. In addition to that gurgling stomach, both sensations can include:
- Dizziness or feeling faint
Do You Need Water or a Snack?
It’s not always easy to tell what your body is crying out for, but there are a few ways to make an informed guess.
First, think about what you’ve consumed recently. Dieticians suggest having a small snack between meals, so you are eating something every three to four hours. If you haven’t had any food in that timeframe, hunger is a possible suspect. But if you’ve snacked in the past few hours, thirst is a more likely culprit.
If you’re still unsure, one way to curb your cravings is with an easy and beneficial test. When in doubt, it’s always better to enjoy a glass of water before turning to a snack. So when you’re feeling peckish, first take the chance to rehydrate. Drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If you’re still feeling hungry, it may be time to eat. But if you were only feeling thirsty, your craving will now be satisfied.
Signs of Dehydration
In some cases, you can also check additional symptoms to recognize thirst vs. hunger. While many of their effects are shared, thirst may also produce signs of dehydration such as:
- Dry skin
- Dry eyes
- Dark urine
- Dry mouth
Benefits of Hydration
It’s certainly true that staying hydrated is a great way to assuage misleading hunger pangs. However, that’s not the only reason to keep an eye on your water intake — hydration has innumerable benefits for your diet, your mood, and your overall health.
- Supports healthy eating habits and BMI: If staying hydrated can help control your hunger urges, it’s no surprise that this is good news for your eating habits. It’s also no wonder, then, that poor hydration has been linked to a higher BMI. By maintaining regular hydration, you can help keep your thirst quenched and your hunger manageable.
- Good for your skin: Your skin contains up to 30% water, and it can quickly be influenced by your hydration levels. Dehydration, for example, can contribute to skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and premature wrinkling. On the other hand, regular hydration can help keep it naturally bright, plump, and clear of impurities. So by prioritizing your water intake, you can also give yourself a little extra glow.
- Supports organ health: Drinking water helps your body function smoothly, from lubricating your joints to regulating your metabolism. It also keeps your organs operating optimally so that your body can process nutrients and filter out toxins through organs like your liver, kidneys, and intestines.
- Increases alertness: Dehydration can be a major contributing factor to fatigue and low energy levels. Drinking clean, hydrating water can help reenergize you, potentially improving your focus, alertness, and activity levels. Plus, water helps transport oxygen around your body, including to your brain. By providing better access to oxygen and nutrients, hydration helps your brain function at its best.
Easy Hydration Tips
If you’re ready to ease unnecessary snacking and misleading hunger pangs while reaping all the benefits water has to offer, here are a few top tips for better hydration.
- Don’t wait until thirst strikes to drink water. Maintaining your water intake throughout the day will not only help control those not-quite-hunger sensations but will also avail you of hydration’s many additional health benefits. Instead of waiting to feel thirsty, take a more proactive approach.
- Hydrate when you wake up. When you first awake, it’s probably been hours since you last refreshed your body with a drink. Combat creeping dehydration by immediately beginning your day with a tall glass of water.
- Drink water before eating meals. Much like drinking water can help ease the urge to have an extra snack, it can also help keep you from overeating at mealtime. Enjoy a glass of water right before lunch or dinner to help your body respond appropriately when you’re full.
- Keep a refillable water bottle with you. Even if you’ve set clear goals for your daily water intake, it’s easy for hydration to fall to the wayside. As they say, out of sight, out of mind! Give yourself a leg up by keeping water close at hand. Not only will this make drinking more convenient, but it will also provide your busy mind with a visible cue to stay hydrated. We recommend choosing a reusable water bottle, which is less expensive and more eco-friendly than disposable bottles.
The Science of Water
When it comes to defeating thirst, access to clean, filtered tap water is the best and most cost-effective way to keep hydrated. So how can you ensure that your tap water is of the highest purity?
At The Science of Water, our team of specialists is here to help provide your family with filtered drinking water that is safe, clean, and delicious. As a certified seller and installer of Puronics whole home water filtration systems, we give you access to industry-leading solutions — including systems backed by the EPA and NASA-based technology.
Better yet, The Science of Water makes it easy to find the perfect filtration system for your needs. Sign up for a free water test, and our technicians will conduct an analysis and recommend a solution that fits both your water issues and your budget.
Just contact our team today to learn more and see what a difference clean water can make in your life!
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