Why Do We Wake up Starving after a Night of Binge Eating?

Hunger is a natural urge, but most of the time our bodies seem to follow a predictable pattern of it. So how can we explain waking up in the morning starving after a night of binge eating? Surely that’s not right.
To get to know the logic behind this, we have gathered the best answers the internet could provide.


Your body needs glucose for energy. Everything you eat is broken down into glucose.

  • Foods like “sugary” foods, starch or very simple carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta, etc., are digested very fast and thus, broken down and turned into glucose very fast.
  • Now, when you eat lots of those foods, lots of glucose goes into your blood very fast.And your pancreas produces little guys (hormones) called insulin who push that glucose into your cells.
  • When lots of glucose goes into your blood very fast, your organ pancreas freaks out and is like “OMFG! Too much glucose in the blood. Too much glucose wandering around in the blood = poison!! Guys!!, Insulin!!, go go go!!! Go push them into the muscle cells and fat cells to properly store them.” and then Pancreas produce lots of fucking insulins. May be even too much insulins.
  • Those lots of little fuckers called insulins push all the glucose from your blood into the cells.
  • Then, very low level of glucose in your blood. So, your body thinks “Hey, my blood needs glucose. I need sugar (glucose). Feed me.”


Probably too late to the answer party. But you’re probably not actually hungry. The insulin answers are sort of right, but your body is very, very good at controlling glucose levels unless you’re diabetic. It will have some fairly large swings after binge eating but by morning it should be mostly stabilized and your body has stored a lot of the calories (and used some of them). You’re probably dehydrated.

A lot of people can’t differentiate properly between feelings of hunger and feelings of thirst (a lot of the time anyway). Combine not drinking for however many hours you were asleep, digestion itself requires energy and water. On top of that, glucose being forced into cells pulls water with them because now there’s more stuff inside the cells and they want to keep the concentration of that stuff about the same as before. So try having a glass of water in the morning after binge eating, give it 30 minutes and you should feel mostly better.


We tend to think of hunger as an indicator that our stomach is empty but this is not how hunger works. Hunger is controlled by hormones and there is a psychological component. Whether you eat a lot or a little before bed, your body will have digested it all within 8 hours.

The first hunger hormone is ghrelin which comes in waves. If you eat 3 meals a day every day, you will get 3 waves of ghrelin around those meal times. If you skip a meal you do not continue to get hungrier, but the hunger will go away (even though your stomach is still empty). If you fast for a few days, hunger can go away altogether.

In your scenario, I think it is more about triggering a larger surge in ghrelin than it has to do with insulin.

The body is good at regulating blood sugar and crashes are not as common as people make them out to be (this is a serious medical condition). Plus if you ate lots of carbs that means your glycogen stores are full and instead of blood sugar going low the body would just tap into these stores.


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