Due to the "obesity epidemic," there is a lot of focus on the causes of weight gain. We typically talk about strategies to cause weight loss, but what about strategies to minimize/maximize hunger?

Is there a way that hunger can be cured by eating a certain distribution of calories as a function of time? For example, if I have 2000 calories of food and I can eat it at any time, how should I spread out eating it over a day to maximize/minimize weight gain? What would be the physical differences for me if I ate a small snack every minute of the day versus eating all 2000 calories at once?

Likewise what about weight gain? Would it be easier to gain weight if someone waits until they are very hungry and overeats during that hunger window, or if they eat over a wider window?

  • $\begingroup$ No, there are hunger free "diets" that you will safely lose weight on. An analogy might be that minimizing spending does not get you out of poverty. $\endgroup$
    – Andy Ray
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ What I mean is, given you will eat the same amount of food in a day, how will eating it in different time-frames affect your weight loss/gain $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ The digestive system absorbs food 24/7, time of day of consumption has little effect on absorption, the main difference is day and night. your body is super efficient at absorbing calories, they go straight into the blood, . The excess sugar also is stored as fat efficiently at all times that your blood is flowing, day/night cycles are the main variant, except that night time is only a pause, you can't circumvent digestion based on times consumed. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Part of the obesity problem is that people eat recreationally, rather than just when they're hungry. Or from cultural expectations: do you (if mainstream American) really stop eating Thanksgiving dinner when you stop being hungry? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Regarding the question in your title: minimizing hunger could be synonymous with leptin responsiveness. For example, leptin deficient or leptin resistant mice are known to become extremely obese - this is because leptin, the 'satiety' hormone, not only signals for you to stop eating, it also elevates the body's energy expenditure and stimulates thermogenesis.

An interesting strategy I've heard, though I don't know how effective it is, is increasing leptin sensitivity through the composition of your diet.

Another interesting element is that hunger, which is mediated by hormones such as ghrelin, decrease energy expenditure by multiple metabolic methods. So being hungry isn't always conducive to losing weight.

I believe most of the answer to your questions relies in these concepts. If you're talking about food distribution throughout your day, schedule it so that you're not very hungry for prolonged periods. Same with food type, eat foods that satiate for longer periods of time, unlike foods such as white rice.

If you want to read up a bit more, I suggest looking into AMPK, and the role these hormones and food composition has on it. AMPK reading


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .