The Difference Between Hunger & Thirst

There is a significant distinction between hunger and thirst. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, and knowing the difference is crucial if you’re trying to lose weight. If you confuse these two intense cravings, you can eat more calories than you need, preventing you from reaching your weight-loss goals.

Furthermore, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to understand the difference between hungry and thirsty sensations. Otherwise, you could be eating more calories than you need, making it more challenging to meet your weight-loss goals. Let’s start by distinguishing between hunger and thirst.


Everyone experiences hunger, people who suffer from chronic hunger are unable to eat if they feel hungry. They are malnourished, either in terms of calories or essential nutrients. Some people who experience it often face a constant struggle to obtain food. 

Furthermore, let your doctor know if you feel an abnormal sign of hunger, such as experiencing hunger a few minutes after having a meal. You’ll have to be aware of everything going on inside your body, so you must listen to it.

Signs of Hunger

Hunger is described as a strong desire or pressing need for food. A variety of factors controls appetite, but hormones play a significant role in hunger. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, anticipation, and motivation, then tells the brain that it’s time to feed, causing us to experience physical hunger.

The physical sensations of hunger differ from person to person. These feelings include an empty stomach, a growling stomach, a headache, mood swings, and more. Here are signs that you might feel if you experience hunger.

  • Being Tired
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty to Focus
  • Headache
  • Feeling light-headed
  • The feeling of an empty stomach


Thirst is the need to drink any beverage but mostly water, and it is a common occurrence. You can note differences in how thirsty you often feel during the day and on different days depending on your activities and diet. Significant changes in your thirst patterns, on the other hand, may indicate the presence of a disease or medical condition.

A lack of thirst, mainly if it lasts more than a day or a sudden shift in your usual pattern of thirst, may be a sign of various problems. A lack of thirst may mean several things, including head injury, liver disease, some forms of cancer, or a stroke.

Signs of Thirst

Water makes up about half to two-thirds of our body weight! Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to keep our bodies working properly and feeling healthy.

Water balance refers to how much water we lose and how much water we gain during the day. Our bodies try to maintain a balance of intake and loss to keep us healthy. Thirst is one of the mechanisms that help to maintain this balance.

Thirst is a symptom that occurs when dehydrated and signals that we need some water or fluids. When we need water, nerve centers in the brain are activated, causing us to feel thirsty. Here are other signs of thirst.

  • Absent or excessive sweating
  • Change in mental statuses such as confusion or hallucinations
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Seizures and tremors

How to Know If It’s Hunger or Thirst?

Drinking a glass of water once you start to experience the first tell-tale symptoms of hunger is an easy way to distinguish between the two sensations. When you’re persuaded that if you don’t eat right away, you’ll die on the spot, this might seem like an interminable wait, but you may be shocked by the outcome. If the urge to eat has passed after this time, you’ve found the answer: your body was craving fluids rather than solids.

Naturally, if the hunger persists, water alone is inadequate, and a snack or meal is needed, but it’s always worth trying this water trick first. You can drink at least eight glasses of clear fluid a day anyway, but this is just another way to make sure you’re getting plenty.

When it comes to hunger vs. thirst, symptoms that overlap can quickly lead to a misdiagnosis. When you have these thoughts, pay attention to them and consider what you’ve eaten or consumed so far that day. Here are a few reminders to help you control your cravings:

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated during the day will help you control your appetite, stay alert, and improve your digestion. Make sure you’re getting your recommended daily fluid intake. Often, keep an eye on your fluid intake to prevent dehydration and its unpleasant side effects, such as nausea and headaches.

Keep Your Body in Check

At the first sign of “hunger,” resist the urge to reach whatever snack is nearby. Drink some water (within your fluid allowance) and wait 15 minutes to see if you’re hungry or thirsty. You will feel a stomach ache if you are genuinely hungry, but you will be fulfilled if you are simply thirsty.

Avoid Being Too Hungry

Cravings are caused by a variety of factors, one of which is hunger. It’s a good idea to eat regularly and have healthy snacks on hand to prevent being too hungry. You may be able to escape the craving altogether by being prepared and avoiding long periods of hunger.

Get Enough Sleep

Hormones that fluctuate during the day have a significant impact on your appetite. Sleep deficiency causes these fluctuations to be disrupted, resulting in poor appetite control and severe cravings.

Furthermore, according to studies, sleep-deprived people are more likely to become obese than people who get enough sleep. As a result, having enough sleep can be one of the most effective ways to keep cravings at bay.


While it’s possible to mix the two up, it’s essential not to overlook one or the other. Drink plenty of water, and don’t forget your appetite. Sure, you’ll fill your stomach, but you won’t be satisfied. On the other hand, don’t overlook hunger. Learning to listen to your body and being an intuitive eater is the best way to understand the difference better. It will take some practice, but you’ll surely succeed.

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