There are two types of people in the world: one – who exist to eat and the second, those who eat to exist. You can either be in Category 1 or Category 2. But what if you are in both? Maybe you are somebody who was a big-time foodie once, but now you are not. Your appetite has reduced and you don’t wish to eat like you used to.
If you have seen this film before, just know it could be a sign. Maybe your body is just trying to communicate something to you – perhaps a medical condition, hormonal changes or just a poor lifestyle. Whatever it is, let’s explore a few reasons why you are not feeling hungry lately
But before we do, it’s important we lay some groundwork.
So, how does your appetite work? You know your body needs fuel to function and that fuel is everything you eat. When it is running low on that fuel, it sends a signal, like constant hunger pangs or as the saying says, “hungry rats running in the stomach”. And that’s your cue to eat something. But what if you don’t get that cue? What if the hunger hormone, “Ghrelin” doesn’t stimulate your appetite and “leptin” doesn’t communicate to your brain that you have not eaten enough?
It must be noted that suppressed or decreased appetite can be due to an array of factors including environmental factors, medication, and physical or psychological conditions.
Even though a decreased appetite is very common, if have been experiencing it for quite some time, then there may be something wrong. It may point to an underlying problem that must be diagnosed.
Let’s discuss these factors one by one.
It can be a sign of bacterial infection
They are easier to recognise because apart from decreased appetite, they come with other symptoms. These may include bad stomach pain, lethargy, cold and cough, and nausea.
Decreased appetite is a common sign, given that it is your body’s way of telling you that it is unwell. When that happens, your body releases chemicals, named cytokines, responsible for regulating hunger as per the immune or inflammatory responses. When the body sends immune responses, it reduces the appetite, making us less willing to eat. As eating takes up a lot of energy, a decreased appetite may give your body much-needed rest by sparing it from performing digestive functions.
However, in some instances, your body does require fuel to fight the infection, despite it not indicating the same. So, eating a little something (that is easy to digest) can be good for your immune system.
Mental health illnesses
Mental health issues take a significant toll on physical health as well. This is why you must have noted that people suffering from depression may not feel hungry at all.
Nevertheless, when you are going through emotional turmoil, the brain invokes the “fight or flight” response, which then slows down the digestive system. Not to mention, depression also releases corticotropin hormone, which reduces your appetite.
Thyroid issues have become common among women lately. One thyroid issue called hypothyroidism may be responsible for your reduced appetite. Hypothyroidism occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, slowing down various body functions, including metabolism. Consequently, you may even gain weight without trying.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, numbness, constipation, soreness, high cholesterol and depression.
Drinking excess alcohol is not only a big NO for your liver but overall body functions, including digestion and metabolism. When you drink too much alcohol, your body’s focus drifts towards liquor, instead of food. Consequently, you may not crave food but alcoholic beverages.
Why does your body require food? To exist? True, but also to perform physical activities. When you lead a sedentary lifestyle and do not provide your body opportunities to burn energy, it can send a sign that you do not need more food. Consequently, you may not feel hungry at all.
Inactivity is one of the reasons why appetite decreases with age. As their physical activity decreases, the requirement for fuel also decreases.
Medications also come with side effects. One such side-effect is reduced appetite. Some medications such as antidepressants, opioid painkillers, antibiotics, and prescribed medications for type 2 diabetes can have a negative impact on appetite.
If you’re observing appetite changes after taking certain medicines, it’s best to inform your doctor so they can revise your treatment plan.
It is an eating disorder associated with body dysmorphia. Anyone suffering from it may want to restrict their food intake to reduce or maintain their current bodyweight. The condition demands specialist medical treatment as it may be life-threatening in severe cases.
As we discussed, a loss of appetite can be because of several reasons. It is vital to talk to your health expert to have an accurate diagnosis. Remember, your body gives out warning signs and they need to be recognised. A reduced hunger can also be a sign, all the reason why you must take it seriously. Your health is in your hands. Make wise decisions.