Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life.

~William Blake


Too often we reach for something to eat when, in fact, we are thirsty. How do we know the difference, especially when we feel like eating and do not desire to drink?

So, the age-old question is, how do we know the difference between hunger and thirst? What are the consequences if we miss the thirst signal? And is water the only thirst quencher?

These are some questions asked by many struggling to determine if hungry or thirsty.

Distinguishing between hunger and thirst can sometimes be challenging because the symptoms can overlap. The hypothalamus, the part of our brain that regulates hunger and thirst, can sometimes send similar signals for both.

Indicators that can help differentiate between hunger and thirst:

  1. Timing: If you’ve recently eaten a meal and still feel hungry, it might be a sign of genuine hunger. If you haven’t eaten for a while and experience a sudden urge to eat, it could be thirst disguising itself as hunger.
  2. Sensations: True hunger often includes stomach growling or feelings of emptiness, while thirst can manifest as a dry mouth, parched throat, or a general feeling of dehydration.
  3. Response to hydration: If you’re unsure whether you’re hungry or thirsty, try drinking a glass of water first. If your symptoms subside, it was likely thirst. If the hunger persists, it’s more likely genuine hunger.

So, what are the side effects missing the thirst signal?

Not recognizing and addressing thirst can have several consequences. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and in severe cases, can even be life-threatening. It’s essential to stay adequately hydrated to maintain proper bodily functions.

It’s clear that drinking water is essential, yet why are so many going for sweetened beverages and juices? Some justify an artificial sweetener in their flavored water and teas and coffees count towards the water quota.

While sweetened beverages, juices, and artificially sweetened drinks may offer some hydration, it’s best to prioritize plain water.

Water is essential for optimal bodily functions, and it does not contain any added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or calories.

Sweetened beverages and juices often contain high amounts of sugar, which can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and other health issues when consumed excessively.

How much water should I drink?

So, it’s no secret we need water, and quite a bit of it, to sustain our bodies, but just how much water should we be drinking?

Determining the ideal amount of water to drink can vary depending on factors such as body weight, activity level, climate, and overall health. However, a general guideline is to aim for about eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is approximately 2 liters or half a gallon. Of course, it’s crucial to adjust this recommendation based on individual needs.

To quench your thirst effectively, drinking plain water is the best option. However, if you prefer flavored water, you can infuse it with natural flavors like lemon, cucumber, or mint without adding sweeteners. Consuming water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can contribute to your hydration needs.

So okay, water is good for us but from where?

Drinking water, tapped water, bottled water and purified water all have pros and cons.

Tap water is generally safe to drink in many developed countries, as it undergoes rigorous testing to ensure quality.

Bottled water can be convenient but may contribute to plastic waste.

Purified water, which goes through filtration or other purification methods, can be a good option if your tap water quality is a concern.

Ultimately, the choice depends on local water quality, accessibility, and personal preferences.

There are  consequences when ignoring thirst and using food to quench it. Some of the possible negative effects can include:

  1. Inadequate hydration: By relying on food instead of drinking water, you may not consume enough fluids to maintain proper hydration. This can lead to dehydration, which can present various negative effects on your body and overall health.
  2. Unnecessary calorie intake: If you’re not truly hungry but eat instead of drinking, you might consume excess calories that your body doesn’t actually need. This can contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss efforts if you’re trying to maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
  3. Nutritional Imbalances: Though water has many important values, we do need to eat. When you choose to drink fluids instead of eating, you might miss out on important nutrients that water does not provide. Foods can offer valuable vitamins, minerals, and other essential compounds that are not present in water alone.
  4. Misleading hunger cues: By consistently ignoring your body’s thirst signals and opting for food instead, you might disrupt your hunger cues. This can make it more of a challenge to recognize genuine hunger and fullness, potentially leading to overeating or poor dietary choices.
  5. Increased reliance on processed foods: If you consistently turn to food when you’re actually thirsty, you may develop a habit of reaching for processed snacks or unhealthy options. These choices can be high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients, which can negatively affect your health over time.

In conclusion, relying on food to quench your thirst instead of drinking water can have various consequences, including inadequate hydration, unnecessary calorie intake, nutritional imbalances, misleading hunger cues, and an increased reliance on processed foods.

It’s important to listen to your body’s signals and prioritize drinking water to stay properly hydrated and maintain overall well-being.

Do you confuse hunger for thirst? How much water do you drink daily? Do you find you often swap pure water out for sweetened drinks? Is it possible the sweetened drinks are confusing your want of water versus food?

Please share your thoughts—you are in good company, simply scroll to the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you. What you have to say is important.

Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum and spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you. I look forward to sharing my newest book with you on how to release your obsession with your Phone. God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…

To learn more about recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, aging,  money, and your phone, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.

Stay tuned… you never know where my mind will wander…

Hugs to you, I care!
Dr. Lisa

The newest release: Release Your Obsession with Your Phone

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