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What Is Sensory Hunger?



Our appetite is controlled by our brains and hormones. These hormones control our hunger and fullness cues but there are various internal and external factors can influence our appetite!


Our appetite typically presents as three different types of hunger – physical, emotional and sensory. 

Physical Hunger

This is our body’s natural response to having low energy levels and lack of nutrients. This kind of hunger is regulated by our brain that sends signals to the body to let us know we need to eat!

Emotional Hunger

This type of hunger is driven by our emotions. It includes boredom-eating, stress-eating, eating when we’re sad, and it can have a self-soothing effect. It often leads to overeating or eating unhealthy foods. 

Sensory Hunger

Also known as nose or taste hunger, sensory hunger is driven by our senses. It refers to when we crave sensory experiences that trigger our tense of taste, smell and even touch. 


Sensory hunger can lead to specific cravings even if we aren’t hungry, and it engages most of our senses.

  • Sight: The visual appeal plays a role in sensory hunger. Colours and presentation of food can stimulate the appetite, leading us to believe we’re hungry just by looking at food!

  • Smell: The aroma of food triggers sensory hunger. Smelling food can cause us to salivate, heightening our desire to eat even if we’re full.

  • Taste: Taste is the primary driver of sensory hunger. There’s a Japanese word “kuchisabishii” and it translates to “when you’re not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is lonely”. That pretty much sums up the taste component to sensory hunger!

Managing Sensory Hunger

You have to eat mindfully, and pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Try to satisfy sensory hunger with healthy alternatives. Take a look at our blog on understanding cravings and what to eat instead to help with this.  


To manage any craving, you’ve got to listen to your body! Find out the difference between mindful eating and intuitive eating – both of which can help you on your weight loss journey. 


Sensory hunger is the craving for the sensory pleasures of food, influenced by sight, smell and taste. It can easily lead to overeating, so our top tips are to eat slowly and savour the flavours, respect your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and if you just can’t crush the craving, make a food swap to a healthier alternative!


One of the best healthy sacks you can have to satisfy any type of hunger is The Lady Bar! It’s high in protein, contains pre and probiotics, and it’ll satisfy a lonely mouth.