Hunger can and should be taught

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Goodfellow Gems

Hunger can and should be taught

Many people eat while their digestion is compromised because they eat in the absence of hunger. We have learnt to eat with our eyes, not our stomachs.

RCTs have demonstrated that when taught to recognise hunger, overweight people lose weight and insulin sensitivity improves. These and related studies have been reviewed1 and have implications for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.

Thirty years of clinical experience suggest improvements in inflammatory disorders including gastritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, perhaps mediated by an improved microbiome following hunger-induced beneficial alterations in gut contractions.

This Gem was written by Dr David Lovell-Smith.


  1. Hunger can be taught: Hunger Recognition regulates eating and improves energy balance. Int J Gen Med. (2013) View here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr Bruce Arroll to be either practice-changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

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