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Your body gives you specific physical cues when it needs food. For instance, you might typically feel lightheaded when you’re hungry, whereas someone else might get tired or irritated or get a churning sensation in the stomach. In general, real hunger tends to carry a sense of urgency; your body has to have something — almost anything — right away.

A craving, on the other hand, is a desire for one food product. If you’re telling yourself, "I’ll feel better if I eat a chocolate bar," you’re probably experiencing a craving. People who eat a healthful and balanced diet may not have cravings as often.