This Is What Your Stomach Growl Actually Means

Sophie Miura

It’s 3 p.m. and your stomach makes a familiar grumbling noise. Should you raid the kitchen or ignore the impulse? According to SheFinds, reaching for a snack when your stomach growls is a mistake—here’s why.

While often associated with hunger, that rumbling sound doesn’t always come from your stomach. It also occurs when food is pushed into the intestines, signaling a natural cleansing process.

Mark Andrews of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine explains that those hunger cravings when our stomachs rumble have a surprising meaning. “Receptors in the walls of the stomach sense the absence of food, causing a reflex generation of waves of electrical activity … [which] lead to hunger contractions,” he says. The purpose of the contractions is to clear out the remaining contents of the stomach, rather than alert you to eat more.

Reaching for a snack every time your stomach grumbles could halt the cleansing process, experts suggest. According to SheFinds, the best plan of action is to eat every four to five hours and avoid snacks to let your stomach naturally cleanse.

We’re sorry to break it to you: Put down the doughnut next time your stomach growls.

Read Whole Bowls by Allison Day ($14) for healthy lunch ideas that’ll keep you full.

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