Five Types of Hunger and Five Aspects of Health

by Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD

Five Types of Hunger


Obesity causes many adverse health conditions. Many of us become obese because we eat when we are not hungry. Therefore it is essential to understand the different types of hunger that motivate us to eat.

There are five basic types of hunger. They can be classified as:

· Habit hunger
· Mind hunger
· Taste hunger
· Stomach hunger
· Body hunger

Habit Hunger results from the impresses upon our mind that result from the eating schedules we are accustomed to. So if we are accustomed to eating breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m., then even when we are not hungry at those times, we will think of eating because our mind is attuned to eating at those times. This is not real hunger. If for some reason, we get busy and the appointed time of eating passes, then if we were really not hungry, the hunger too passes.

The second type of hunger can be termed Mind Hunger. It is similar to habit hunger in that it is not real hunger and is suggested. But the basis is different and therefore needs to be classified as such. When one has been without food for a long time, then even if one is not hungry, one feels one ought to be hungry. For instance if one has missed a meal or is on a fast, one feels one ought to be hungry. This type of hunger too disappears after some time and is not real hunger.

Taste Hunger is the third type of hunger. Quite often after a heavy meal, even if we are not hungry, we will eat dessert. Sometimes, even though we are not hungry, we eat a favorite snack in between meals. This too is not real hunger and with a little discipline we can avoid unnecessary calories.

The fourth hunger is the Stomach Hunger. This is real hunger. This type of hunger is experienced when the stomach becomes empty. At that time one can eat, but if one wants to remain healthy, one should never overeat. Many people often eat before the stomach gets empty. Once they start to eat, they generally overeat, particularly if there are some dishes they are fond of. Overeating stresses the body. This is one reason why many such people improve in health when they simplify their diet or go on a fast of fruit juices. However in some case, e.g. diabetes, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers etc. fasting can be dangerous.

The fifth type of hunger is Body Hunger. This type of hunger can be dangerous and occurs when the whole body needs food because of famine or fasting. Body hunger will not dissipate with the passage of time. It persists because the body is deprived of nutrition. At such a time, if no other right food is available, one should eat glucose or honey. If no food is provided to the body, the body will draw food from within itself. First it will draw upon the unassimilated food in circulation. Then, it draws upon the sugar reserves stored in different tissues and organs, particularly the liver. After that or simultaneously, it will draw upon the fat reserves. When these reserves are consumed, the body draws upon its own tissues, particularly the vital tissues in different parts of the body, beginning with the muscular tissues. Then, it goes on to the vital organs and ultimately draws upon the nervous system. Once the body begins to draw upon any of the vital tissues, it becomes starvation which can lead to complications and even death.

This is why when, as is often done in naturopathy, a fast is undertaken to effect a cure, it must be conducted under proper supervision of not only a medical practitioner but also an expert having practical experience in dispensing and managing fasts. Such professional management becomes essential when a stage is reached in fasting where adverse chemical changes occur in the bloodstream leading to acidosis, more so when a chronic subacute or acute condition is to be treated with fasto-therapy as the principal therapy.

On the other hand, when the body hunger arises and the fast is broken with the help of right nutrition and other measures, it leads to the cure of various diseases leading to normal health. The right way to break a fast after one feels the body hunger is to start taking juices of fruits and vegetables first and then gradually go on to body building diets under expert supervision.

When an average person gets the feeling of hunger, he does not know whether it is due to habit hunger, stomach hunger or body hunger. Therefore a good rule which helps in maintaining average health is to avoid taking solid food for periods of 12 hours unless contraindicated in case of some particular health issue. So for instance if the last meal of the day is dinner at 9 p.m., one should avoid eating solid foods till at least 9 a.m. the next day. Dr. Mehta recommended that till 12 noon we should have liquid foods such as fruit juices, milk with ovaltine, buttermilk etc. Abstinence from solid foods daily till lunch time, except in the case of medical conditions where it is contraindicated, will help in digesting more easily the food that is taken at other times during the day.


There are five main aspects of health. They are:
· Ill-Health
· Average Health
· Normal health
· Super-normal Health
· Supra-normal Health

Cure of Ill-Health:
The first main aspect is the cure of ill-health i.e. curing those who are suffering from some disease of the body and mind either acute or chronic.

Mind is not merely the mind known to psychology. Mind has its origin in the Mind Divine, the Eternal Mind. In case of most human beings, the soul also known as âtmâ in some languages of India, is a spark of the Eternal Mind i.e. it has separated from the Eternal Mind and is not linked to it. In case of a few it is like a ray, from the Eternal Mind. Rarely, very rarely, is it like a beam of light of the Eternal Mind. This mind - called the soul or âtmâ - is not yet known to psychology or to parapsychology, but it is within every human being and sustains the human personality.

Imbalance arises within and between one or more of the three aspects of the human personality, namely, the body, the mind known to psychology i.e. the usual human mind and the soul. How to bring about the balance is one aspect of health? It can be termed the curative aspect of health, leading to healing, at least as intended by nature for human beings.

Average Health:
The second main aspect of health is to maintain average health. Average health is that state of health where the human being is not confined to bed, yet some form of disease - usually a chronic disease - lurks within the body.

Most human beings walking about are suffering from one or more physical chronic complaints. There are very few of us who are not suffering from any physical chronic complaint. Most of us are susceptible to some complaint which becomes chronic or acute in time. Notice the myriad of non prescription medications that are purchased everyday. The roots of that susceptibility can be in the human mind known to psychology or even in the mind which is not yet known to psychology i.e. the soul. Between the human mind and the spark of the Eternal Mind within everyone - the soul or âtmâ - there are veils of thought forms of the past of this life as well as of past lives.

The chronic ailments that have manifested within the body and are the source of bodily symptoms must be controlled so that average health can be maintained. The present day treatments available are unable to cure the chronic ailments but are able to keep the symptoms under check. Examples of chronic ailments are arthritis, gout, diabetes, allergies and other conditions.

Normal Health:
The third main aspect of health is to aim at making average health grow towards normal health. Normal health is quite different from average health. Norm means the Law. Norm, to say the least, is balance in a human personality at the physical and mental levels in keeping with the laws of nature - physical, psychological and parapsychological. Normal health can be defined as the state of health intended by nature for all living creatures including man. It is the state of health arising through the right use of the two basic instincts - the instinct of self-preservation and the instinct of procreation.
Laws of nature in general govern all the biological creations which are uninfluenced by human beings. They are controlled and canalized towards normal health through the two basic instincts and the various sub-instincts emanating from them. Human beings are not controlled and canalized only by these instincts. This is because of the state they have evolved unto or revolved around or devolved into through the use or misuse of the freedom of will.
Those who have evolved in the right direction have automatically grown unto normal health from average health. In case of human beings, the state of normal health requires control not only over the instinctive forces but also over their desires and ambitions. Besides, it requires the canalization of the human energy inward towards what is right, at least from the higher human and humane points of view.

Super-Normal Health:
Beyond the state of normal health, there are two distinct trends. One is the trend outward, going after fulfilling desires and ambitions. The other is the trend inward, beyond the two main instincts i.e. self preservation and procreation as well as other desires and ambitions. This inward trend leads towards the source of desires and ambitions, right unto the spiritual source.

The first trend, which is outward, is possible for most human beings. When linked with their health, under favorable circumstances, the outward trend can develop their bodies, and even minds. Backed by destiny, it can help them grow towards the state of health which is better than normal health. They can become proficient in some field of physical and mental culture. They can even become champions in one field or another. This is more than normal health, but it is backed by desires and ambitions. It is the state of health acquired by athletes and champions in various fields of sports, gymnastics and body building in general. Such people can develop the body and the mind further unto what can be termed super-normal health.

Success in achieving super-normal health also depends upon environmental factors and internal factors of biological inheritance and destiny. If one has not inherited the appropriate gene pool, no amount of physical training is going to enable one to achieve super-normal health. However, even when these factors are favorable, this state of health stops after a certain stage of physical and mental fitness is achieved. This is because apart from other factors, sustaining normal health depends upon the inherent time factor that one is born with. For instance amongst dogs and cats the time factor limits their life cycle to about 15 years. Once they have reached the pinnacle of health, they remain at that state up to half their life cycle after which their bodies begin to deteriorate. In human beings at present time the life cycle for many in developed countries is around 70 years. So when the time factor kicks in, then however much one may try to improve one's health or even sustain youthful vigor, one's health begins to decline. This decline is termed senility or senile decay.

Supra-Normal Health:
There is another factor, another foundation or platform, for higher than super-normal health. It is the inward trend. To achieve Supra-Normal health, one grows from normal health to super-normal health. But this growth is achieved not merely by focusing on the body. One has to exercise the body but the physical training has to be linked with the super-normal mental aspect. When one links the physical development of the body with a growing consciousness, then the more one develops, the more humble one becomes. One is not motivated to satisfy one's ego by asserting it and trying to dominate people and situations.

Such a state of super-normal health grows beyond desires and ambitions to the source of desires and ambitions and can with sustained effort lead one right up to the spiritual source. If one succeeds in reaching that spiritual source during the inward process, one's mind will begin to change. Changes in the mind will cause changes in one's body. This is more so if one is graced by the spiritual force. As one grows unto the higher levels and planes of consciousness, the normal body also needs to grow to remain in tune with the super-normal levels and planes of consciousness. As part of the process of growing spiritually physiological changes occur within the bodies of such beings changes.

In fact, when such physiological changes occur, they can lead to imbalances resulting in ill-health. At such time, the changes need to be managed by following the right way of life linked with the laws of health, as well as the way of life based on spiritual principles and laws, necessary to sustain the process of growing inward. If the body and mind are not properly managed when such changes occur, one can fall ill and may not even recover. This is what happens to many who do not know how to manage their state of health under such circumstances. They need to be helped by those who know how to balance the imbalance which occurs as they grow near the spiritual foundation or the source.

When some individuals who are striving for Supra Normal health reach the spiritual foundation, even at the level which is nearest the material foundation they may at times be required to manifest their achievement outward through their human personality. When this is required of them then their human personality i.e. their physical and mental, states begin to change from the trend inward towards the trend outward. As the trend within their consciousness changes from going inward to going outward, once again they experience difficulties. This is because although the two trends have the same foundation their movements are in opposite directions. The opposing directions can and does frequently cause friction. It is possible to overcome that friction with positive effort.
In such cases, once the trend outward gathers momentum, the body becomes super-normally healthy. Such a state of super-normal health is completely different from the super-normal health founded on desires and ambitions of human beings growing from normal health. With right effort one can grow through the super-normal health founded on spiritual values unto the fifth aspect of health.

The fifth aspect of health is what can be termed Supra-normal health. This is the state of physical and mental which is achieved if it is so willed by the spiritual powers behind the outward process. In supra-normal health, the physical personality and the mental personality both become an instrument of the Divine. This state of the human personality i.e. the body and mind is beyond sainthood, growing unto sagehood and seerhood. Such was the state of health of High Beings or Avatars like Zarathushtra, Ram, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed all of whom had perfect bodies but with a spiritual basis.

If the outward trend of the supra-normal state of health does not get mixed up with the opposing force from within or from without and if the forces within and without are overcome in the right spiritual way, the body can even become spiritualized. A spiritualized body means that a major part of the matter in every cell of the body has a spiritual link with the finest of the fine matter. In a cell, whether spiritualized or not, the vacuole and the Golgi body which are present are the finest parts. In a spiritualized cell, their quality is different and almost the opposite of that in an average cell and their spiritual link is much deeper.

To summarize, there are five main aspects of health. One is ill-health which can lead either to death or to average health which is the second aspect of health. The third aspect of health which is higher than average health is normal health i.e. the state of health intended by nature for human beings. Beyond the normal state is the super-normal state which is the fourth aspect of health. The super-normal health can follow two distinct trends. One outward based on human desires and ambitions, which, given the right environment and other favorable circumstances, can make one grow unto the super-normal health like that of champion athletes. The other is the inward trend which can take one beyond the desires and ambitions unto super-normal health based on spiritual foundation leading unto the fifth state i.e. the supra-normal health, like that of High Beings and Avatars.

Viewed from this broad angle of the five aspects of health, it is evident that what is being done in the name of health is less than a pinpoint. Nowadays, the main concentration is on the curative aspect and that, too linked mainly with allopathy or what is accepted as the modern system of medicine. There is a vast field open for what can be done and needs to be done in the name of health.

Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD