Difference between Hunger and Appetite

Updated on February 20, 2018

You have virtually a clock inside your body that works to inform you every time you need to eat something. You always have an idea that you are going low on energy and you must eat something satiating. But you may often fail to know why you feel like eating. It may be because you really are hungry. And it may be because you are feeling an appetite for something. You may confuse the two terms, but failing to understand them, you may actually face adverse consequences. Appetite makes you eat more than enough. You should eat only when you are hungry.


Hunger defines the need for food. When your body demands food and realizes some chemical changes inside, it is referred to as hunger. Your blood glucose levels tend to decrease when you are hungry. Nonetheless, it is a natural mechanism that occurs to ensure that your body gets powered from time to time and functions well.


Hunger makes you eat something that could make you feel full. Thereby, it helps balance your energy levels. You cannot control your hunger. It is automatic and you have to eat something to satisfy it. Ignoring it may lead to severe consequences. Hunger gives you an appetite.

Appetite can be defined as your desire to consume something, and may simply be the result of normal hunger. It is also a psychological need that provides you pleasure. Appetite is only satisfied when you eat the food you want to eat. Your appetite controls your craving for something. You can have it at your helm only if your take your mind under your control.

It is generally when some food smells good or seems appetizing or strikes your mind that you feel an appetite for it. Your mood or thoughts can affect your appetite. This may lead you to overeating. When you eat out of appetite, you may never feel full.

Hunger vs Appetite

What’s the difference between hunger and appetite?

Only two reasons viz. hunger and appetite can make you eat. Both are different and the need for understanding the difference is important. Where hunger is your need to eat, appetite is often your craving for something. Hunger may cause hunger pangs and you must not ignore it. Appetite can easily be ignored and ignoring it can, in fact, be healthy for you. However, it is equally true that appetite may sometimes be a result of real hunger.

Whenever you see mouth-watering food, you may have an appetite, since you tend to have an emotional response to the smell and taste of food. Symptoms of appetite may include a feeling of emptiness in the stomach which grows with every minute. Alternately, hunger is when your body needs food. The symptoms may include migraines, fainting, and a decline in your energy levels.

Comparison Table

Hunger Appetite
It is the physiological need to eat something such as when you feel growling in stomach.It is your desire for food such as when you crave for something sweet or spicy.
Hunger gets satisfied when you eat something.Appetite makes you eat more as you find the food delectable or delicious-smelling.
Hunger makes you eat and be healthy.Appetite can make you overeat which instigates many health conditions.
It is a result of chemicals in your body.It is a prepared response to food.
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