The food bar is a visual display of how full your character is, represented by "shanks". Another way to look at the food bar is your energy reserves. As a player eats certain Foods, their shanks will increase based on the food points (1 point=1/2 shank) of that food.
Effects of the Food Bar
A player's food bar has a relationship with their health meter.
When a player's food bar is at or above 9 shanks, their health bar will begin to regenerate at a rate of 1 health point (1/2 heart) every 1.5 seconds.
On the other hand, if a player's hunger bar is empty, the player is starving and will lose 1 health point at the same rate.
The player can be poisoned by eating certain foods. This is indicated by a greenish tint of the shanks on the hunger bar. Once a player is food poisoned, their food bar will begin to deplete due to their hunger. This could eventually cause the Health Meter to begin to deplete.