Eat For Health: The Four Dimensions of Hunger

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Though we generically call the feeling that you want or need to eat “hunger,” hunger actually has four different dimensions. Many diets fail because they only focus on one of these components calories. Eat For Health, based on the ideas developed in Eat To Live, is the only eating-style that takes into account all four. Understanding and resolving the drive to overeat must consider and satisfy these dimensions.
  1. VOLUME: You must consume an adequate amount of food, and fiber from that food, to physically feel satiated.
  2. NUTRIENTS: You must consume enough nutrients in your food for your body to meet its biological need to thrive. Even if you have adequate volume, if it’s from low-nutrient food, your body will have a nutrient deficit, and you will feel you require more food.
  3. CALORIES: You will be driven to overeat on calories unless the other dimensions of hunger are addressed. The only way to not over-consume calories is to ensure you have enough volume and nutrients so your body can feel satiated.
  4. ADDICTIONS: You must break yourself of your addictions to food, which often manifest themselves in ill feelings and cravings. If you don’t, your body will not be able to regulate its caloric needs appropriately.
As you can see, each of these dimensions addresses your body’s need for food, but none of them exists independently. If one dimension is not tended to, the others will be thrown off. Portion-control diets attempt to limit calories without regard to nutrients or volume. Hunger is never fully satisfied and the undernourished dieter ends up giving in to the overwhelming compulsion to eat more
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Howie Jacobson - June 23, 2008 10:42 AM

Well-defined dimensions of hunger!

I would add a 5th: pleasure. I think it's different enough from addiction, which is a negative craving. The drive to gain pleasure from food is surely the "conscious" motivator by which we managed to get enough volume (but not too much), nutrients (healthy food just tastes better, in the absence of addictive "frankenfoods"), and calories (high calorie foods just taste better, to "famime-proof" us).

When we eat mindlessly, while driving, working, reading, etc. - we don't take in our RDP - recommended dose of pleasure - and so we continue eating and eating in a vain attempt to feel good.

Gerry Pugliese - June 23, 2008 11:11 AM

Hey Howie-

Well put!


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