Can you be in a calorie deficit without being hungry?

Simple Answer – Yes

Lets take the question to extremes and consider total energy budget, magnitude of deficit and length of time in a deficit.

Short term – Hours to a few days.

It's easy to imagine that over short time periods that you could exist without feeling hungry whilst in a small net calorie deficit.

Examples of this are when you wake up in the morning, between meals, when you are preoccupied with work or engrossed in something you enjoy.

Time frames of hours to even days you may not feel hungry at all whilst being in a deficit unless the deficit is exceedingly large and you are already very lean (have calories stored in fat).

Long’ term – Week or more.

If you are in a notable calorie deficit say of 200kcal a day or more, then after a week you will probably start to notice the effects, you are likely to be feeling hungry more often especially if you are in a large deficit.

If you are planning to sustain a deficit for a long period of time the best way to avoid feeling hunger is to be in a small deficit, a small deficit is more comfortable in terms of adaptation to normalising the feel of hunger.

So that after a period of time you no longer feel hungry per se but are subconsciously aware you are in a deficit.

If you are in an extreme deficit of the magnitude of 700kcal+ a day then you are likely to be very hungry if you sustain it for any length.

I feel that the question is too vague to give a specific satisfactory answer, so I would just refer back to the start and say YES.

11 Replies to “Can you be in a calorie deficit without being hungry?”

  1. The simple answer is yes you can.

    Quick answer: This video will explain how.

    You must eat the right foods and use some smart psychological tricks! With the seven tips today, you can also eat without getting hungry.

    1. Eat more vegetables

    Vegetables are not only deliciously and healthy, they are also very diet-friendly. They contain relatively very few calories ! This means that you can eat a lot without worrying about your calorie limit. Useful, because research shows that the amount you eat is directly related to how full you feel.

    In addition, vegetables naturally contain a lot of fibers , which fill more. A handy rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with vegetables. And if you want to eat a little more after your first serving, you only have vegetables!

    2. Eat more fibers

    It is not only vegetables that are full of fibers. Also, many other products contribute to your fiber consumption – and that's good news if you want to eat your smaller portions and feel full. Fibers absorb water in your stomach and bowels. You will therefore not be hungry very much. All plant products are good fiber.

    There are also several fiber-rich seeds, such as chia seed and flax seed. Ideal for adding smoothies to example!

    3. Take a healthy appetizer

    More courses do not necessarily lead to more calories! In fact, if you start with a light soup or salad, you will eat less after that. The reason for this is very simple. Both salads and vegetable soups contain many fibers and few calories. Therefore, you feel full up even before the main course.

    In addition, you automatically give your stomach more time to signal the fullness of your stomach. In addition, look at the dressing for that salad: fatty sauces can spoil the effect.

    4. Add proteins

    Research shows that proteins provide a more fuller feel than carbohydrates and fats. You will not only eat smaller portions, but you will not feel hungry again in the hours afterwards! That is of course a win-win situation. You can benefit from adding proteins to as many meals as possible.

    Spoon yogurt into your smoothie or an egg into your salad … You do not even have to eat meat to get protein! Although it is just as easy to process a piece of chicken or some lean meats in your meal.

    5. Drink water while eating

    Staying hydrated, is of course important. But if you drink some of that water at the meal, it can also help you to generally eat smaller portions! The reason is very simple: that water is already filling up a part of your stomach. Even if you have a drink between meals, a few glasses of water can help you.

    Avoid sugary soft drinks! They contain many calories and do not fill with which they are double disadvantageous.

    6. Eat more spicy

    Spicy food can help you to get full faster. And no, that's not just because it hurts your mouth so hard that you can not eat more! In hot peppers is the substance Capsaicin, which counteracts traits of hunger feelings. By having some pepper in that appetizer, you can reduce your appetite even further!

    If you are not fond of spicy food? Then ginger has a similar effect. A cup of ginger tea with the meal can also be an excellent option!

    7. Use smaller plates

    In addition to everything you can do with your food, the context also affects how you experience your food. A handy trick to cheat your own brain is to eat from smaller plates. People always fill their plates to about 70% on average. On a smaller plate, a smaller portion looks bigger – which means that you also eat less!

    The same goes for your cutlery. For example, people in a study ate more ice cream when they received bigger spoons. Smaller cutlery, on the other hand, helps to eat smaller portions.

    Which food RELEASES stored up toxins & MELTS belly fat fast? (the answer may suprise you)

  2. Can you be in a calorie deficit without being hungry?

    I will try to “avoid” hidden meanings in this question and answer it “plainly”!!!

    Yes! It’s definitely possible to be in a calorie deficit without being hungry.

    The condition is called fasting!!!

    If you are on a “normal” diet and you stop eating (eg, you start fasting) you will be very hungry after some time.

    Even on a “normal” diet we are constantly practicing fasting (eg, we stop eating after finishing the last evening meal and we start eating in the morning – hence the term breakfast – break fast – got it!).

    Sense of hunger is pretty complicated from a physiologic point of view but it’s based on ups and downs in our blood sugar with consequent variations of insulin and other hormones.

    People who want to lose weight have to be in some calorie deficit some of the time (or, in big calorie deficit all of the time!!!).

    How can that be achieved!?!

    Well (based on my experience and experience of my friends and patients) it should be done by going on the strict LCHF for about three weeks (for some people it can be a shorter period) and then you can simply start fasting without feeling hunger at all.

    Beware, there is a psychological attraction to food which is not hunger.

    For instance, during my last 10-day fast I was thinking during the last 3–4 days about the food which I will be eating when I finish my fast. I knew it was to be three eggs but prepared in which way exactly (poached, or fried; sunny side up, or scrambled; with some tomatoes and cheese or not, etc). I was actually day-dreaming on purpose about the food I will eat when I break my fast and was mentally preparing myself that in the next several days I will not overeat – be it in frequency and/or size of my meals!!!

    Try it and see how it works for you.

  3. You may already be following a diet that alternates with carbohydrate rich days with days when you are almost out of carbohydrates. But if you want to lose those last kilos, you can add this method to a somewhat more extreme level. Try to consume protein-rich foods and vegetables on the carbohydrate days. This causes fat loss. Then plan on days that you work well, the carbohydrate rich days. Use the carbohydrates mainly two hours before or shortly after your workout. This approach calls you calorie cycles. Due to the zigzag approach to your carbohydrate intake, your metabolism is accelerated while at the same time losing fat. I know these tips helped you out. I hope you achieve to and become fit. Want to know the #1 secret to Losing Weight Fast ? Part 2 : Set achievable goals, take enough time (Part 2 : Set achievable goals, take enough time)

  4. It is possible. Typically, a minor calorie deficit of 100–200kcal/daily will lessen your chances of feeling hungry.

    Significant deficits, usually 500+ kcal/daily, you are almost certainly going to be feeling hungry. There are individuals that will adjust to a significant deficit, but it usually takes quite some time to adjust.

    I would agree with other answers about eating satiating foods to help curb any hunger. Making food choices that are high in protein or fiber seem to help.

  5. Yes, you can definitely be in a caloric deficit and not feel hungry.

    You can read more at my blog.

    What I try and coach my clients to do is to make sure that you are eating enough carbs an protein that you body needs to sustain the energy levels that you need to achieve. I have some recommendations on some supplements as well that you can find


    But yes, make sure that your intake of protein is roughly 1g per 1 lb of lean muscle mass, ensure that the carbs that you are consuming are from a healthy source such as brown rice, fruits, and healthy vegtables, you can even venture out to some starches just make sure and be careful, they tend to take over if your not careful.

    You can find some calculator references here

    Hope that helps to answer your question

  6. A good question indeed which I'm afraid I don't think really anyone can answer, since so many factors influence “hunger”. Even the very definition of hunger will be different depending on who you ask. Is it physiological or psychological and does it matter? Is hunger simply those gnawing rumbles or is it a mad craving such as a pregnant woman might experience so strongly that she attempts to eat non-food items to satisfy “it”? (Referred to as pica). If two similar sized people eat the same diet will their hunger levels be different?

    When I eat carbs before bed I awaken famished compared to if I refrain from eating hours before bed. Everyone's body is different at processing carbohydrates. Gluconeogenesis and lipolysis are processes that play a crucial role in self reported hunger levels. So many things go into it.

    But if I can tell you anything constructive, remember this: our bodies do not intrinsically “know” that we have an abundance of food. “It’s” still waiting for the next famine to occur, so regardless of how much body fat we might have, our bodies are like greedy capitalists- they always want more.

    But – in an attempt to provide a simple answer, I think it's possible to be somewhat in a calorie deficit and not experience physical hunger. Especially when it's not conducive to eating such as a stress situation or in certain illnesses. However in healthy people with somewhat ordinary lives, I'd hedge my bets on the opposite occurring more frequently- that is experiencing hunger even when we are substantially over our caloric requirements. And that is why it is so terribly difficult to lose weigh- our bodies prefer a positive balance for a rainy day, just in case..,,

  7. For endurance athletes it is not only possible but a problem. You can easily burn more calories in a day than you take in, and if losing weight is not a goal, then eating enough becomes something you have to be conscious about just to maintain weight and strength.

    When I used to do triathlons and train for them many years ago, I had to take that into account and make sure I ate enough, even though I was not always hungry. And I did not do the long events, but between that, work and everyday activities I often ran a deficit.

    It is not really a bad problem to have, so long as you like to eat.

  8. Yes. Hunger is a hormone-mediated perception. A calorie deficit is a mathematical statement about calorie intake and expenditure. You can perceive satiation while still having a calorie deficit. You will eventually feel hungry again—but that’s the body working as intended.

    However, you don't need to feel hungry continuously.

  9. The other respondents may be misinterpreting the question.

    Those who are starving or on a long intentional fast stop feeling hungry. Is that not the greatest calorie deficit? One needs a minimal diet which simulates an extended fast but can be tolerated for months or years.

    There are such diets. People have consumed them for as long as two years without complaining of hunger or dropping the diet. Admittedly, they started out rather obese and began the diet for health reasons. One can find the results in the British Medical Journal but one must pay for the published study to learn more detail about the diet content.

    The diets ranged from 600 to 800 Calories per day and satisfied the RDA for all required nutrients including fiber but did so with very low calories. They included significant calories from fats to meet the RDAs but almost no sugar or starch.

    It is sugar and starch that tell the body that it is no longer fasting and to feel hunger again. They were also careful to limit protein to the RDA or a little more. One half of the amino acids from digested protein are converted to glucose on first pass through the liver and more may be converted later if muscles are not ready to use them to build tissue.

    The goal seems to be to start with a ZERO calorie diet until hunger ceases and then add back only what is needed.

  10. Yes. Or at least without feeling very hungry. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods, mostly plants, not too much or too little. So it will include foods with a low calorie density. These can help you feel full.

    You should only ever be in a moderate calorie deficit anyway. If you get too hungry you’re likely to overeat.

    See The best weight loss diet for an example.

  11. Yes of course.

    The simplest way, mind you I didn’t say the easiest, is TO AVOID oil (this includes animal fat) in your diet. You can eat as many veggies and fruits, rice, carbs, bread (make sure no oil), beans, healthy nuts, etc. No meat whatsoever.

    Always read labels, and if you see TRANS FAT, SATURATED FAT, HYDROGENATED OIL, SOY OIL, VEGETABLE OIL, or any OIL or FAT listed, put it down and move on.

    Once you’ve gotten used to this, then you can wean off sugar, and cut back simpe carbs to more complex carbs (yam instead of potatoes, etc).

    I’ve successfully lost 30 lbs in just a little over 2 months with this NO OIL and NO FAT approach. And yes, it ain’t easy but I feel great. Good luck.

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