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Why Don’t I Feel Like Eating Even Though I’m Hungry?

Because feelings of hunger are such an integral part of the human experience, it can be tough to know what to do if your relationship to that hunger suddenly changes. It’s not uncommon for people battling a medical condition or undergoing changes in their lives to find themselves not hungry very often, while others might respond by not feeling like eating, even if they’re hungry. This situation can be confusing and overwhelming, but it’s important to know that there are steps you can take to manage your weight and get the nutrients your body needs, even if you’ve lost your appetite or just don’t feel like sitting down to a meal. To learn more about why you don’t feel like eating, even though you’re hungry, and what you can do in these circumstances, keep reading as the team at ENU explains.

The Difference Between Appetite and Hunger

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, appetite and hunger actually represent two different – but related – concepts that govern why and how we eat. Hunger is a physical sensation; it’s the reaction your body has when certain thresholds are passed, whether that involves your blood sugar dipping too low, your stomach being empty, or some other factor. Appetite, on the other hand, is more of a mental state; it’s what determines what you want to eat, how much of it you want, and whether you’re interested in food at all, regardless of what your body says.

If a person doesn’t feel like eating, even though their body tells them that it’s hungry, it’s because they don’t have an appetite. In some cases, the difference between these two drives can be minor; for example, you might be hungry but not feel like eating until someone brings up food, at which point you take more of an interest. In other cases, a lack of appetite can partially or completely override a person’s level of hunger; this can lead to someone not eating anything for a day or more, regardless of how much their stomach growls. However, whether you have an interest in food or not, your body still requires sustenance, so it’s important to keep getting the nutrients you need in whatever way works for you.

Possible Reasons Why You Don’t Feel Like Eating Even Though You’re Hungry

Because appetite is a feeling linked to influences on both the body and mind, there are a lot of possible reasons why you don’t want to eat, even when you’re actually hungry. Some of these reasons are more serious than others, while some are passing conditions that are likely to resolve themselves with time. Below are a few of the most common reasons why someone doesn’t feel like eating:

Mental Illness

There are many mental illnesses that afflict people, some of the most common of which can affect a person’s appetite. Someone with depression, for example, will often experience prolonged feelings of apathy, leading them to care about very little, including food. Others might have an illness centered around avoiding food specifically – anorexia, for example. If you recently lost interest in food, along with many other things in your life, talk to your doctor about the possibility that a mental illness could be to blame.


Any given prescription medication can affect different patients in different ways. While one person might not have any side effects at all when taking a certain drug, another could experience a loss of appetite. This is especially true for those taking sedatives or antibiotics or who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Hormonal Imbalances

Because of their role as messengers that coordinate our bodies’ complex systems, hormones play a big part in our health and appetite. A change in these hormones – which could be caused by hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, pregnancy, and many other conditions – can directly impact whether a person feels like eating.

Digestive Problems

There are plenty of digestive illnesses that make eating so unpleasant that a person loses interest in it. Those with Crohn’s disease, for instance, can experience pain and diarrhea in response to eating certain foods, which could lead to a loss of appetite. Even a simple cold or stomach bug could have this effect.


Most people experience points in their lives where they have to deal with considerable amounts of stress. When this happens, many of the body’s key processes can be affected, including sleep, concentration, and appetite.

What to Do If You Don’t Feel Like Eating Even When You’re Hungry

Even if you don’t have much of an appetite, it’s important that you remember to consume an adequate amount of calories and nutrients to avoid unwanted – and possibly extreme – weight loss. Some tips for what to do if you don’t feel like eating, even when you’re hungry, include:

  • Adjust your eating schedule to the times of day when your appetite is most active.
  • Consume sources of liquid calories, such as meal replacement shakes.
  • Add calorie-heavy sauces, condiments, or powdered nutritional supplements to your food.
  • Break up each day’s eating into five or six small meals, rather than three large ones.
  • Exercise to stimulate your appetite.
  • Make eating a social experience by dining with friends or family.

Healthy Nutritional Supplements for When You Don’t Feel Like Eating

If you don’t have an appetite, know that there are ways to get calories that don’t require you to force down large meals. A nutritional shake from ENU, for instance, offers 400 calories and many of the key macronutrients your body needs, and our Pro3+ powdered supplement can add calories and protein so a meal without significantly changing its taste or texture. To learn more about these helpful products, visit ENU online or call (855) 266-6733 today.

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