There Is Little Connection Between Hunger And How Much You Eat, Science Says

Why is it that you can single-handedly polish off a large pizza and start raiding the fridge just 20 minutes later? (Asking for a friend.) It turns out there's an explanation behind our sometimes unstoppable desire to chow down: New research has found that there might not even be a strong connection between hunger and how much you eat. In other words, we're all basically just a bottomless pit. Yay.

The research comes out of the University of Sheffield, and it tells us that even if we've been properly fed, we might still want more food. A team analyzed 462 studies that explored calorie consumption and appetite; and the results — published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition — were surprising: 51.3 percent of those studies (237) found no link between how much you eat and your hunger level. In fact, just six percent of the studies made a direct comparison between the two factors. The others included no such relationship.

Bernard Corfe, the lead author of the study, offered some explanation, telling Vice that "the factors that drive calorie consumption are many-fold ... appetite is a part of that equation, but our work suggests it may not be the most important part, not by a long way."

Some of the other factors influencing hunger and calorie consumption are energy expenditure, our sensory environment (things we see and smell), and our snacking and mealtime habits and behaviors.

This could mean, for instance, that even if you just gorged yourself on tacos with extra guac from the food truck outside work, you may still start salivating when you smell your cubicle mate's deli sandwich and matzo ball soup. Life's just unfair that way. Or, as another example, you might eat a larger-than-normal meal after a tough workout, consuming food even after you've started feeling full. This is not as simple as "hunger = consumption."

But let's look on the bright side. You now have an excuse when your cubicle mates comes back from the bathroom and finds half of their deli sandwich missing. #silverlining

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