hungry
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You’ve eaten lunch. You felt really full. But two hours later, you feel hungry again. Then you go to get a pack of snacks. Gradually you’re gaining weight.

And you ask… What’s happening? Why is my appetite growing so fast? You start to suspect if you have a parasite in your body, or if you have diabetes. All these are possible. But most of the time, you’re just thirsty.

When in doubt, always guess in favor of hydration. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever over hydrate but it’s always so easy to overeat.

75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. And the problem is, most people can’t tell the difference between hunger and thirst.

Read more: Will there be enough food for our next generation?

What? Even a kid would be able to tell the differences? Look at the signs of hunger and signs of thirst below first.

Signs of hunger vs signs of thirst

As you can see, 3 out of 4 common signs of hunger and thirst are the same. What’s more, the part of the brain that deals with hunger and thirst feelings are the same. With the same part interpreting both signals, it becomes confusing to offer the perfect solution.

So, how not to be tricked?

One tip is that feelings of true hunger come gradually, but not suddenly.

When in doubt, always guess in favor of hydration. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever over hydrate but it’s always so easy to overeat.

Read more: 4 ways to remain active, and productive, in Ramadan

Make it a habit

75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it.

Drink a glass of water or herbal tea at least 30 minutes before a meal or snack. This way, you’ll be more aware of the true extent of your appetite, you’ll absorb the water more effectively, and you won’t dilute your stomach acid while it’s trying to digest.

Dehydration may play a bigger role in your life than you realize. Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Learn to drink more water and not only will you find that your hunger cravings are reduced, but you’ll also feel better in general!

This article was first published in LifeHack.

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