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Minecraft: How Hunger Works

Minecraft is primarily a survival game, although it was also an immersive creative mode that allows players to build whatever they want with unlimited resources. Its survival sandbox environment, however, is often considered its primary game mode and the main way players enjoy the game. This mode puts players in the middle of a random world, where they must gather resources to survive and thrive.

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Something that every Minecraft player has to worry about his hunger. The Hunger bar is located just above the XP bar in the middle of the screen and needs to be replenished frequently by eating various foods available in the game. How does the Hunger work? What happens when the bar is completely depleted? And what exactly does the shaking effect of the Hunger bar mean? This Minecraft guide to hunger should answer all these questions.

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How the Hunger Bar Works in Minecraft

The Hunger bar consists of chopsticks. There are ten in total, and as players complete various activities in the game, they will slowly start to deplete. The most important thing to remember is that one hunger point equals half a drumstick. This will come in handy when players start choosing the types of food they want to eat.

There are tons of different foods in the game, some bad and some good. Some will fill more drumsticks, while others might give the player food poisoning, which drains the hunger bar instead. To find out which foods are the best, check out this guide to the best Minecraft food.

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So why is the Hunger bar so important? A full bar of hunger allows players to regenerate in-game health, which is essential to staying alive. At most one drumstick must be missing for players to continue regenerating health. If this bar completely depletes, players will begin to starve and lose their hearts, but will only be able to die completely if playing on Hard difficulty. Also, at around 3 drumsticks or 6 hunger points, they will be unable to sprint.

Two statistics: hunger and saturation

The hunger bar might not look like it, but it displays two stats instead of just hunger points in the form of chopsticks:

  • Hunger Points: The number of drumsticks is always visible on the bar. Each type of food fulfills a certain number of points.
  • Hunger Saturation: The wavy, jittery animation of the hunger bar. The more it moves, the lower the saturation. Saturation is what keeps the bar from depleting and allows the player to be full longer. Each type of food has different types of saturation values.

The Minecraft Wiki defines the common value between Hunter Points and Hunger Saturation as Nourishment. Foods that provide a high number of hunger points and tons of saturation rank high on this nutrition scale, and vice versa.


This means that players need to take care of these two stats when eating food. The common mistake players make is to just immediately eat the best food (high nutritional value) on hand to fill the drumsticks, but this is actually a slight waste. Players can eat food with lower hunger points and saturation (low nutrition value), and at the last pestle they can switch to a better food type with good hunger saturation.

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For example, to fill the hunger bar with hunger points, they can eat a bunch of apples, carrots, bright berries and other foods with quite low nutritional value. Then, at the top of the bar, they can fill the last drumstick with a steak or even a golden apple, which will also give players high saturation.


Some activities deplete the hunger bar more than others

The most of from Minecraft activities will affect the hunger bar by exhausting the player character. These activities will reduce the level of saturation and create that wavy or jittery effect that is on the hunger bar. This means that the hunger will start to run out sooner. The higher the depletion value of an activity, the more saturation it drains.

The good news is that the most common activities will not punish the player at all, and mining is actually one of the best activities to do due to low player exhaustion (only 0.005 per mined block). Sprinting, jumping, swimming and fighting mobs will increase this value up to 0.1, with jumping actually costing 0.2.

The hunger state effect will also drain saturation, depending on its severity. Food poisoning from rotten flesh will increase this exhaustion to 3.0 while eating pufferfish will penalize players with a whopping 4.5. That said, the most tiring activity is actually health regeneration, which at around nine hunger points will deplete the player by 6.0.

Minecraft is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS and many other platforms.

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