Why We Can't Stop Ourselves From Eating, Even When We Feel ‘Full'

by Talia Koren

With Halloween right around the corner, candy is at every store. It's irresistible, no matter what you tell yourself.

Just yesterday, I was walking through CVS and found myself buying candy corn M&M's. I saw them, I grabbed them and I ate them as I walked out of the store.

But was I hungry? Absolutely not.

According to a new study published by Critical Views in Food Science And Nutrition, how hungry you feel probably has little to do with how much you actually eat.

After analyzing data from 462 previous studies, which examined calorie consumption and appetite, researchers found hunger levels weren't a good predictor of the someone's actual calorie intake.

So what does this mean?

Well, even if you're eating the right amounts of protein, vegetables and carbs to keep you satiated and your blood sugar levels even, you could still feel hungry, even if you don't necessarily have an appetite.

When I say "feel hungry," I mean your body will manipulate you into going for the candy because, well, it's there and it looks good.

Leader of the study Dr. Bernard Corfe said,

The food industry is littered with products which are marketed on the basis of their appetite-modifying properties. Whilst these claims may be true, they shouldn't be extended to imply that energy intake will be reduced as a result. For example, you could eat a meal which claims to satisfy your appetite and keep you feeling full-up for a long period of time but nonetheless go on to consume a large amount of calories later on.

So, I guess that's your scientific explanation of why you can inhale an entire family-size bag of Doritos while watching Netflix just because it was there, even after eating a solid dinner.

It's probably also the reason you can't save leftovers for the next day, even if your life depended on it.

I mean, if you know the rest of your burrito bowl is chilling in your fridge, chances are that sucker will be gone before lunchtime the next day, which is when you intended to eat it.

Of course, there are ways to keep your appetite and hunger in check.

Listen to your body before you reach for the candy.

I'm not a health professional, but my advice would be to listen to your body before you reach for the candy. Normally, this helps me successfully avoid the cookies in the office. Yet, this willpower was no match for candy corn M&M's.

Researchers will definitely have to look further into these findings to see what's actually going on when the ghost hunger hits.

Regardless, tune into your stomach and energy levels. And if your body feels full, as appetizing as that burrito bowl looks, keep it in the fridge.

Citations: How Hungry You Are Might Not Determine How Much You Eat (Shape)