Why You Might Be Thirsty When You Think You’re Hungry – Plus Free Hydration Guide Download

You maybe thirsty not hungry

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Something I try with a number of my clients – especially those who are like me and sometimes get the mid-afternoon or evening munchies – is to drink a glass of water when they feel hungry, instead of just eating something first.

Quite often, after 10 to 15 minutes, the craving to eat goes.

So why is this?

Misleading Signals

Our bodies have unique ways of communicating with us. Sometimes, though, the signals get a bit muddled. When you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty. The confusion arises because the same part of the brain, the hypothalamus, is responsible for interpreting both hunger and thirst signals. So, occasionally, our brains mix up the cues.

Hunger or Thirst? How to Tell the Difference

If you’re unsure whether you’re feeling hunger or thirst, here are some pointers:

  • Time Check: If you ate a meal or snack just a few hours ago and don’t have any other signs of hunger (like a growling stomach), try drinking some water first.
  • Drink First, Wait, and See: Before reaching for that snack, drink a glass of water. Wait about 15 minutes, and if the hunger pangs go away, then you were probably thirsty.
  • Check Your Mouth: A dry mouth and feelings of thirst are clear indicators you need water. But if you’re still unsure, and your mouth feels dry or sticky, try sipping some water before opting for food.
  • Check Your Pee Colour: If you urine is looking darker, you may be dehydrated:
Image Credit: NSW Health

Staying Hydrated: Some Tips

To ensure you’re getting enough water throughout the day, try the following:

  • Carry a Reusable Water Bottle: Having water at hand can remind you to sip throughout the day.
  • Flavour Your Water: If plain water isn’t your thing, infuse it with fresh fruit like berries, lemon, or cucumber for a tasty twist.
  • Eat Water-Rich Foods: Fruits like watermelon, cucumber, and oranges have high water content and can help keep you hydrated.

Next time your tummy grumbles a little, stop and think: “Am I genuinely hungry, or could I just be thirsty?” A glass of water might be all you need.

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