L’appetit vient en mangeant is a French proverb which translates to “appetite comes with eating.” In its broadest sense, it means that once we have some of a thing, we often want more, and with food, even if we are not hungry, the act of eating creates an appetite. There is some truth to this proverb – beginning to eat (and even thinking of eating) triggers the first phase of digestion: the Cephalic Phase Response.
There are three phases of digestion, the first of which is the Cephalic Phase Response. The other two are the Gastric and Intestinal phases of digestion.
The Cephalic Phase is triggered by the sight, smell, taste or even thought of food. During the cephalic phase gastric secretions begin, which include increasing salivation and the secretion of gastric acid, hormones, and insulin. The cephalic phase signals your body that food is coming and prepares your body to digest it. Some studies have found that triggering the cephalic phase can create appetite/hunger.