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The Effects of Hunger on the Human Body and Mind

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on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of The Effects of Hunger on the Human Body and Mind

The Effects of Hunger on the Human Body and Mind


-more than immediate suffering
-affects mood, focus, sense of physical well-being
-is a dual body-mind experience that
-has same deteriorating effects on every human

Physical Effects of Hunger:
- visual disturbances or impaired vision; strange eye movements (vitamin A deficiency)
- bleeding gums & decaying teeth (calcium deficiency)
- skin dries out and flake (hydration and vitamin A deficiency)
- hair loss
- decrease in heart rate and oxygen levels = shortness of breath; makes it difficult to perform physical activity (calcium, iron, protein and Vitamin B deficiency)


Physical Effects of Hunger (cont.):
- disorder in intestinal tract, kidneys and livers = vomiting (fiber deficiency)
- bones become fragile (calcium deficiency)
- nerves in hands & feet break down; loss of feeling in hands and feet (vitamin E deficiency)
- muscles weaken & shrink; aching of joints and muscles (protein deficiency)
- weakening of immune system
->comma & death
Mental Effects of Hunger:

- confusion
- learning & concentration difficulties
- from early age: reduced intelligence, anxiety, psychiatric issues and cognitive impairment in the long term
- loss of control and feelings
“My head was emptying and emptying, and in the end it sat light and void on my shoulders. I percieved this gaping emptiness in my head with my whole body, I felt hollowed out from top to toe.”
- behavior & pathway changes; decision making; perception of risk
different behavior in novel
Experimental Examples:

- flys moving towards carbon dioxide
- predator only hunts more dangerous prey when it is close to starvation
- hungry people take more financial risks than their sated colleagues
-different neural circuits process environmental signals depending on the state of satiation
“I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn't a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn't a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it.”
Hunger/Starvation:

- like character
- brainy tricks
- incredible sharp senses
“Nothing escaped my eyes. I was sharp and my brain was very much alive, everything poured in toward me with a staggering distinctness.”
- interested in things relating to food; dreaming of cannibalism
- active state; inspiration; desire to work & move

- ending a hunger strike gradually (lacking digestive enzyme); vomiting
Hunger Strikes:
"We're all designed to be experts at dealing with hunger."

"Hunger is not a disease, it's a skill the human body has."

~ Joachim Gardemann
- evolution has prepared humans to survive 2-3 months without food & enough water
- every organ shrinks to half its size; brain shrinks by 2-4%
- body does everything possible to preserve the brain
- after 8-10 days of starvation, the body switches to an energy-saving regime; similar to hibernation
- male and female brains react differently
-explains physical decline before mental
“It was not my intention to collapse; no, I would die standing.”
-biological (need), learned (clock) & cognitive (colors)
- controlled by physiology & psychology (eating to satisfy physiology & psychology need)
- environmental factors influence hunger, including the availability of rich foods, taste preferences, habits, memory, stress & cultural attitudes
"If only one had something to eat, just a little, on such a clear day!"

Hamsun, Knut. Hunger. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1967. Print.
"How Hunger Hurts." The 40Hour Famine. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://40hrfamine.wordpress.com/how-hunger-hurts/>
"Hunger Affects Behavior and Changes Pathways in the Brain." SciTech Daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://scitechdaily.com/hunger-affects-behavior-and-changes-pathways-in-the-brain/>
News, CBC. "How a Hunger Strike Affects the Body." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 04 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-a-hunger-strike-affects-the-body-1.1316715>
"How the Body Copes with Hunger | The Hungry World | DW.DE | 14.11.2011." DW.DE. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.dw.de/how-the-body-copes-with-hunger/a-15478749>
"Hunger Strike Effects on the Human Body." RIA Novosti. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20120428/173061233.html>
Staff, LiveScience. "The Science of Hunger: What 1 Billion People Feel." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
<http://www.livescience.com/5725-science-hunger-1-billion-people-feel.html>
"The Effects of Starvation on the Human Brain." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/388636-the-effects-of-no-food-on-the-human-brain/>
"Hunger Affects Decision Making and Perception of Risk." Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.mpg.de/7422218/hunger-behaviour>
"Hunger and Eating." Hunger and Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. <http://www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/students/hunger.htm>
References (MLA):
by Arjana Begzati
Brain Above All:
Sensation of Hunger:
How is it possible to neglect the effects of hunger on the body through a strong mental determination (as did the character in Hunger)?
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