What Does Appetite Mean?

Reviewed on 6/30/2022
Man with a fork and knife in hands at a dinner table making an exaggerated hungry facial expression
Appetite is a desire for food. This is different from hunger, which is the biological need for food. Appetite is stimulated by the sight, smell, or thought of food. Appetite and weight are influenced by hormones and neurochemicals.

Appetite is a desire for food. This is different from hunger, which is the biological need for food. 

  • Appetite is stimulated by the sight, smell, or thought of food. Social cues may increase appetite, for example, people tend to eat more during meals with family or friends than they would eat when alone. There may be cultural expectations, such as finishing what is on one’s plate, or sensory cues such as the smell of a favorite dish that can influence appetite.  
  • Appetite and weight are influenced by hormones and neurochemicals. Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach. When the stomach is empty, the ghrelin it produces is released into the bloodstream, where it travels to the brain and activates nerve cells that increase appetite. When you start eating and the stomach expands, the release of ghrelin is lowered and appetite is reduced. 

What Can Lead to an Increased Appetite?

Certain conditions can cause a person to have an increased appetite. These may include: 

What Can Lead to Appetite Loss?

Certain conditions can cause a person to have a loss of appetite. These may include: 

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Reviewed on 6/30/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/appetite

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=56&contentid=DM300