Life in These Hawaiian Islands

Trade Winds, Tsunamis, and the Coconut Wireless

Leave a comment

The Different Type of Hunger – PaleoHacks

The Different Types of Hunger

One major topic on the PaleoHacks site is about hunger and identifying the different types of hunger: “mind hunger,” “gurgling sensations,” “hunger pains,” “body wants fuel,” “starvation mode,” “and hypoglycaemic hunger.” Here are some of the most popular types of hunger listed: hypoglycemia, empty stomach, and compulsion to eat.

So what exactly is hunger, anyway, and why do we experience it? Are there more types than those listed here?


Hunger is the feeling you get when your body requires food. Appetite (or mind hunger), on the other hand, is the feeling of wanting to eat even when you are not hungry.

The sensation of hunger generally makes itself felt within a few hours of eating and most people find it unpleasant. Different people can experience hunger at different times according to their eating habits.

Biological Mechanisms of Hunger


The hormones ghrelin and leptin fluctuate within your body to convince you to eat. When you eat, leptin is released and signals to your brain that you are full, or at least reduces your motivation to continue eating. After a few hours without food, those leptin levels drop and ghrelin is released, which brings back those feelings of hunger.

Other hormones like cholecystokinin (CKK) and insulin are released when you eat. These work to reduce hunger signals. Epinephrin and glucagon rise when you don’t eat and work to stimulate hunger.

Just before a meal, your glucose levels drop and your insulin rises.

Neural Signals from the Gastrointestinal Tract

Vagal nerve fibers can transmit signals between the GI tract and your brain. When you eat and your stomach is stretched, those stretch receptors tell your brain you are full and your hunger is reduced.

Nutrient Signals

Several nutrients send signals to your brain to indicate you are not hungry. These may include elevated amino acids, rising glucose levels, and fatty acids in the bloodstream.

Physical Sensations of Hunger

The different types of hunger may cause different sensations. When your stomach is empty, you may experience “growling” sensations, or minor cramping. You may have increased salivation or even “tight throat” feeling. This sensation doesn’t usually last long, about an hour, and then it will go away.

Appetite, or the desire to eat even when you’re not necessarily hungry, is all in your mind. This pesky issue can cause some problems with some people who either can’t recognize true hunger sensations, or choose to ignore them for the sake of eating that one last donut or cookie.

Hypoglycemic Hunger

When your body’s main fuel source is glucose, and you don’t eat enough carbs to produce glucose, your body might experience hypogylycemia. This is the condition where you have abnormally low levels of blood sugar.

This type of hunger is rare in Paleo eaters. Sure, when you first switch to a Paleo lifestyle after eating a lifetime of the Standard American Diet high in processed junk and sugar, you will probably have a few days or even a couple weeks where you will experience uneven energy and intense sugar cravings. You might experience anxiety or lightheadedness, the jitters, the shakes, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, extreme hunger, and energy crashes after eating and in the late afternoon.

The good news is, our bodies can make energy from carbs and from fat. If you have moved from a high-carb, low-fat diet to a lower- to moderate-carb, high protein, high fat diet, you will probably experience hypoglycemia for the first few days or week as your body adjusts. After that, your body will become accustomed to using a combination of fat and carbs (or just fat, if you follow a keto diet) for energy.

To make sure your body can produce energy from fat in an optimal manner, Chris Kresser suggests you ensure your nutrient levels are high, particularly ones responsible for this process, like carnitine and riboflavin.

Carnitine helps to move fatty acids into the mitochondria. If carnitine levels are low, fatty acids won’t be moved efficiently and your energy levels will drop. Genetic polymorphisms, a diet low in legumes or protein (source of lysine), or digestive impairment can all lead to a deficiency in carnitine.

Riboflavin is a main component of burning those fatty acids as fuel inside the mitochondria. Foods high in riboflavin are meat, green beans, asparagus, bananas, dairy products, fish, eggs, chard, okra, and persimmons. Things like dysbiosis or intestinal inflammation can affect your body’s ability to absorb riboflavin. Signs of a riboflavin deficiency include mouth ulcers, inflammation of the tongue and mouth, cracks at the corner of the mouth, and cracked and red lips.

Other nutrients that play a role in blood sugar regulation and energy production are chromium, biotin, magnesium, CoQ10, and choline.

Improve Your Body’s Fat-Burning Capacity

If you suspect your body is having a hard time metabolizing fat and you have issues with hypoglycemia, you might want to consider boosting your fat-burning nutrients as mentioned above, and improving your absorption of amino acids. Address any digestive issues you might have, and replace stomach enzymes and acids if they are low.

To regulate your blood sugar, experiment. Keep your carbs to fewer than 75 grams a day, eat more frequently (like every two to three hours), eat your breakfast with lots of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, eat a snack with fat and protein before you go to bed, and keep an eye on how you feel. If you need more carbs, then up your intake. Intermittent fasting may also be helpful.

Getting through that first adjustment period may be hard, but after that, you shouldn’t experience hypoglycemic reactions at all.

Water Hunger

Most people don’t realize it, but thirst often manifests as hunger. If you choose to eat when you feel this sensation but don’t drink, your body will continue to feel “hungry” even after you are past being satiated with food.

Practically every process in your body requires water, so ensure you are properly hydrated. Have some water every hour; different people have different water requirements, but generally, around one cup of water per hour should be sufficient. If it’s a very hot day, or you are hard at work doing something strenuous, are breastfeeding, or are on certain medications, you may need more. When you feel hungry next time, drink some water and see if that helps the sensation.

Head over to the PaleoHacks message boards to contribute to the topic of “Types of Hunger.”

PaleoHacks Team

PaleoHacks is an online paleo diet community that promotes a healthy lifestyles through primal methods. PaleoHacks started as a way for people share recipes, ideas and general opinions about the Paleolithic lifestyle. Now, whether it be the paleo diet, physical fitness or overall wellness, PaleoHacks has evolved into an online resource for healthy living. check us out on

– See more at:


Leave a comment

Foods to Avoid on the Paleo Diet

Foods to Avoid on the Paleo Diet

28 Mar 2014 by Karen Pendergrass in News

Foods to Avoid on the Paleo Diet

As a follow up to the previous post which included a complete Paleo Diet food list, we have compiled a list of foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet as well.

As the theory behind the Paleo Diet goes, foods from the post-agricultural, Neolithic Era are to be avoided while following this diet.  As much of the Paleo Diet itself is highly speculative, the following list of foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet is merely a compilation of what we currently believe to be non-Paleo Diet foods. Disagreement among one group of Paleo adherents is common, so be sure to check out other Paleo (and even non-Paleo) resources as well to figure out what works best for your body.


foods to avoid on the paleo diet dairyDairy is a mention-worthy gray area item, and is considered ‘Primal’ but not ‘Paleo’. We believe that the inclusion of dairy depends on metabolic profiles and preferences of the individual. If the inclusion of dairy is being considered, we suggest that you focus on quality sources of local, grass-fed dairy from pastured animals, and avoid sourcing dairy products from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) like the plague that they are. 


foods to avoid on the paleo diet grainsThere isn’t much disagreement over grains between Paleo Diet adherents, even those who have a more “loose” definition. This is because grains are widely considered a ‘Neolithic’ food. The advent of agriculture — and subsequent proliferation of grains within the human diet— historically marked the end of the hunter-gatherer era (which Paleo Diet adherents are attempting to put a modern-day twist on) and the ushering in of large civilizations, soil infertility, and highly palatable, calorically dense grains.


foods to avoid on the paleo diet

There isn’t much disagreement over avoiding certain types of oils within the Paleo Community. The oils that we eschew are those that are: unstable and easily oxidized, use ‘Neolithic’ crops (that were grown in monocultures), and rely on heavy processing techniques (that require the use of chemical solvents to extract the oils).



paleo diet sweeteners to avoidThere is a significant amount of disagreement over avoiding certain types of sweeteners within the Paleo ranks. Some Paleo practitioners suggest that we avoid sweeteners of any kind while on the Paleo Diet including honey, maple syrup, and even dried fruits like dates. If you are following a dietary regimen for a specific condition, this may have merit. However, the following is a list of sweeteners that are disallowed while following a Paleo Diet as they either are permutations of Neolithic foods, or are created in a laboratory.


paleo diet foods to avoid

There isn’t much disagreement over the inclusion of legumes into the “Paleo Diet” umbrella definition because legumes are widely considered a ‘Neolithic’ food, that is, we speculate that it was not eaten before the advent of agriculture. Furthermore, legumes are typically grown in monocultures to increase yield, which is unfortunately rather deleterious to biodiversity and thus, environmental sustainability and food security.


can I have alcohol on the paleo dietThere is quite a bit of controversy in the Paleo Community revolving alcohol, some citing the benefits and some citing the reasons to abstain 100%. However, that is a judgement call best left up to the individual. However, there seems to be a community consensus on which types of alcohol to avoid while adhering to a Paleo template — the ones that are made from Neolithic grains.

foods to avoid on the paleo diet

Paleo Diet Considerations

Now that we’ve addressed the big ones— Dairy, Legumes, Vegetable Oils, Grains, and Alcohol—we will address some other important considerations for those who are making their first attempt at a Paleo Diet.


While the Paleo Diet itself is an inherently Gluten-free diet, not all Gluten-free items are not inherently Paleo. “Gluten” is an alcohol-soluble prolamin that has been implicated in the etiology of autoimmune diseases like Celiacs Disease, and may be a causative factor in other autoimmune conditions for predisposed individuals as well. Other non-glutenous prolamins in grains may also illicit immunoreactivity. This is something to be careful of when selecting treats, especially if you have a serious health concern that led you to the Paleo Diet.


Figuring out what foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet may not be as cut and dry as we perhaps had imagined. However, using the Paleolithic Era as a template and not a rigid dietary regimen allows for the use of condiments which our hunter-gatherer forefathers certainly did not have. Condiments like mustard, ketchup, dressings, and mayonnaise differ from one product to the next, so be to sure to carefully read the ingredients labels. There are Olive Oil and Vinegar dressings whose first ingredient is soybean oil, so buyer beware.


Initially, potatoes were stamped as a ‘Neolithic’ food to be avoided, but have since made a comeback with some Paleo practitioners under the guidelines that they are cooked when eaten, and that their skin be removed. It is usually a good rule of thumb to consider a food to be Paleo by it’s edibility in a raw state, but this isn’t always accurate. Much controversy surrounds the subject of potatoes.

Yet More to consider

As always, figuring out the foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet may not be as cut an dry as we perhaps had imagined. This is partially due to the variances in food products, food production systems, animal husbandry practices, and also… ideologies. The learning curve is steep, mistakes will be made, but ultimately lessons will be learned while we test our individual sensitivities (or lack thereof).

As we continue to grow and learn as a community, this list will be amended to reflect new information. As speculative as a concept of the Paleo Diet is, we hope that you continue to learn and seek out information from as many resources as possible until you have your life— and diet— 100% dialed in.

Article by Karen Pendergrass