Don’t you go to the Hwangsae mart habitually, look around the snack corner, and pick some chocolate as soon as you finished lunch? Or, have you ever been hungry less than three hours after you finished your dinner? This is not because of the individual’s will, but the symptom of ‘carbohydrate addiction’ or ‘fake hunger’.
Temptation of Sweetness, Carbohydrate Addiction
Lots of people today enjoy various kinds of dessert. People also seek sweetness to relieve their stress although they are not hungry. These habits bring an excessive intake of carbohydrate, which leads to ‘Carbohydrate addiction’. This term literally means being addicted to carbohydrate. According to the Korean Nutrients Adequacy Ratio (NAR) by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, adequacy ratio of carbohydrate for an adult per day is around 60 percent of total calories. If you intake more than 70 percent of total energy by carbohydrate, the probability of suffering adult diseases like diabetes increases. Following is a self-test of ‘Carbohydrate addiction’ by Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. If you check five or six questions, you are in danger of being addicted, and if you check seven or more of them, you are already addicted to the carbohydrate.
<Self-test of Carbohydrate Addiction>
1. I prefer bread to rice.
2. I feel hungry and find it hard to concentrate from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
3. There are always snacks or chocolate around me.
4. I still feel hungry even after a meal.
5. I always stay awake at night unless I have a late-night meal before going to bed.
6. I haven’t maintained a healthy diet for more than three days.
7. Just the thought of sweet snack makes me want to eat something.
8. I keep eating even though I’m full.
9. I’m not satisfied with my meal even though I had a full meal.
Controlled by the Brain, Fake Hunger
The hunger human feels can be divided into two classes: Real hunger because of the need for energy or Fake hunger that is trick of the brain which deludes oneself as if he or she is hungry in order to eat food. Then how can we distinguish the hunger whether it is real or fake? If you want to eat specific food within three hours after eating a meal, it is a fake hunger. Meanwhile, if you feel light headache, dizziness or gloomy with rumbling sound, it is a real hunger!
Fake hunger frequently appears to people who get lots of stress or keep an irregular cycle. This also results in being overweight, or if it is serious, suffering from chronic diseases. Additionally, fake hunger is closely connected to the carbohydrate addiction. This is because the stomach regards itself as always being hungry while not noticing being addicted to the food.
According to a Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI), drinking a cup of water can be a solution to the fake hunger. Having a protein-based meal or doing intensive exercises in a short period, or brushing teeth are also helpful to suppress fake appetite.
Toward a True Well-being
Nowadays, human-beings are living in a deluge of food information. Compared to the past, just rejecting instant food is not enough to ‘eat healthy’ in this stream. Unless you notice why it is bad to intake food whenever you feel hungry or you want to eat something, it may lead you to go to the shortcut to harm your health.
It is quite controversial to distinguish a food addiction as a clear disease, but it also stimulates the pleasure center of the brain and influences the body like alcohol or drugs addiction. Yun Dae-hyun, a psychiatrist at Seoul National University Hospital, highlights getting right eating habits like taking food which is good for lowering the blood sugar level before being dependent on the medicine. How about trying to be a wise and healthy food-consumer without overlooking signals the body sends?
윤제민 기자 firstname.lastname@example.org