In 1957, a researcher inserted the words “eat popcorn” and “drink Coca Cola” into a single frame on a movie reel. No viewer could actually see these words but the subconscious processed them. Coke sales increased by 18 percent and popcorn sales increased by 57 percent. Subliminal messaging had breached the ranks of hunger signals as a motivation for eating.
If a person has popcorn on the brain will that person want popcorn even if there are no hunger signals? It seems the answer might be yes.
Even though the story turned out to be a hoax, a 1999 Harvard study showed that there is some merit to subliminal advertising. Despite the contrived content, that 1957 wives’ tale raises an interesting point: If a person has popcorn on the brain will that person want popcorn even if there are no hunger signals? It seems the answer might be yes.
Measuring Hunger Signals on the Hunger/Satiety Scale
People often choose to eat even though they are not hungry. What we eat and when we eat it can be based on emotions (Read: Steer Clear of Emotional Eating), situations, and habits that have nothing to do with hunger signals.
If we pay more attention to our body’s natural hunger signals, we can improve our eating patterns. Healthy eating patterns start by recognizing the physiological signs of hunger and fullness and reacting to those signs appropriately. The Hunger/Satiety Scale can help identify those hunger signals (Read: Satiety Index for Controlling Hunger).
The scale begins at 1 and ends at 10, with 1 being a feeling of starvation and dizziness and 10 a feeling of being full to the point of physical illness. At center scale is number five, a neutral feeling of being neither hungry nor full.
The Hunger/Satiety Scale reads as such:
2. Very hungry
3. Hungry and ready to eat
4. Beginning of hunger signals
6. You might prefer to eat a bit more
8. Very full
9. Uncomfortably full
10. Painfully full
Throughout the day, before and after meals and snacks, assess where you fall on the scale. Record your findings (Read: Meal Planning Tips for Weight Loss) and begin looking for patterns. Are you eating when hungry or are you just eating? Are you skipping meals? Do you stop eating when you are full or do you keep going?
Being able to read hunger signals… helps to make sure we are eating only when we are actually hungry.
Identify those areas that need adjusting and make an effort to become more aware of your habits (Read: Bad Eating Habits That Cause Weight Gain). If you are more at the low end of the scale, you might be at risk for nutritional deficiencies. The high end of the scale can put you at risk for obesity and all the accompanying illnesses. If your pattern is to drift from one end of the scale to the other, make an effort for greater central consistency.
Being able to read hunger signals and respond to them appropriately not only helps with food choices but also helps to make sure we are eating only when we are actually hungry.
In good health,