“Why do I feel hungry all the time?”
“Why do I still feel hungry after eating a big meal?”
“Why do I think about eating all the time?”
“Why do I still want to eat even though I’m not really hungry?”
Do these questions look familiar？The fact is, they all revolve around one word: hunger.
Hunger is a way for the body to protect itself. It tells you when it is time to replenish your energy. After eating enough food, the feeling of hunger should generally disappear temporarily.
Most people can go several hours between meals before feeling hungry again. However, in some cases, with other people, this period of time can be very short. Some people still feel hungry shortly after a meal.
In this article, we are going to discuss some possible causes of being hungry all the time and ways to reduce hunger and appetite.
What Causes That Frequent Hunger Feeling?
1. You’re on a calorie-restricted diet
Many people deliberately limit calorie intake when trying to lose weight.
Here is the problem:
When the calories you eat are less than the calories your body consumes, your body cannot meet the needs of normal metabolism. When this happens, your body then produces a hormone called Ghrelin.
Ghrelin is also known as the “hunger hormone”. As the name suggests, it causes hunger and increases appetite.
When your body needs more food, your stomach releases ghrelin to remind you to eat.
If your meals are low in calories, it will increase Ghrelin release. Therefore, even if you have just finished eating a meal, because of low caloric intake, you may soon feel hungry again.
2. You like the high-sugar diet
Many foods and beverages contain added sugar, which may increase your appetite.
Too much sugar, especially fructose, will increase your appetite [*]. A high-sugar diet can cause the body to produce more ghrelin, which may affect the activity of certain areas of the brain. This can make you feel less full, resulting in feeling hungry again.
3. You’re eating a low-protein diet
It’s almost basic common sense that eggs can increase satiety. Such protein-rich foods can lower the level of the hunger hormone and help you reduce your appetite.
So if you don’t eat enough protein, you may feel hungry, very easily.
4. You are dehydrated
Keeping your body hydrated is good for your health. Benefits include promoting brain and heart health, as well as maintaining the health of the skin and digestive system.
Drinking enough water can also reduce hunger, especially if you drink water half an hour before a meal. Just one glass of water can decrease your appetite and prolong satiety.
Water-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, can also help you to replenish body water.
5. You’re eating too little fiber
The lack of fiber in your diet may cause you to feel hungry more often.
In addition to helping digestion and preventing constipation, dietary fiber can also help you control your hunger.
Higher-fiber foods slow down the emptying rate of the stomach and take longer to digest than low-fiber foods. Dietary fiber can also reduce the release of hunger hormones.
In addition, eating more fiber-rich foods can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.[*]
However, not all fibers are equal. Soluble fibers are better than insoluble fibers.
6. You don’t get enough sleep
This study has shown that a lack of sleep can lead to increased ghrelin levels and increased feelings of hunger. This is why you feel like you want to eat more when you can’t sleep.
Adequate and high-quality sleep can help your body to secrete more Leptin, which is a hormone that promotes satiety.
7. You’re eating too many refined carbohydrates
Whole grains are very high in dietary fiber and many other nutrients.
During the refining process, bran and germs are removed, along with all the nutrients they contain. [*]
In refined grains, this leaves almost no fiber, vitamins or minerals. The only thing that does remain is starch, with small amounts of protein, which is quickly digested.
Foods like refined rice or white noodles and various foods made with them, fall into this category. In addition to having a better taste, these foods have almost no nutritional value. They especially lack important fiber, which makes them easy to digest.
If you eat refined carbohydrates such as white bread or rice, you will often still feel hungry.
Another important note is that refined carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar to soar rapidly, thereby prompting the body to release more insulin to lower blood sugar.
Eating a high-carbohydrate diet for a long time can cause unstable blood sugar and insulin resistance, which can increase your hunger and appetite.
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8. You don’t eat enough fat
Fat is less digestible than carbohydrates because it stays in the stomach longer and increases the feeling of fullness.
A study of 270 obese adults found that compared to a low-carbohydrate diet, those who ate a low-fat diet had significantly increased cravings of carbohydrates and high-sugar food and their hunger was stronger.
9. You’re being distracted while eating
When you are busy, in order to save time or entertain yourself, many people have to read, type, play games, or watch TV while eating.
However, this distraction during a meal is not only harmful to your health but also makes you eat more without knowing it.
10. You’re exercising a lot
You may have experienced that every time after running or swimming, you felt so hungry, that you ate more than usual.
This is because exercise can speed up your metabolism, which burns more calories. Your body needs food to supplement the energy it consumes.
In this case, it is best to eat foods rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats. They not only increase your feeling of fullness but also repair muscles that may have been damaged during exercise. They can also improve muscle strength.
11. You’re drinking too much alcohol
Alcohol stimulates appetite.
Studies have shown that alcohol can inhibit the body’s secretion of leptin and other appetite-lowering hormones, which can increase your hunger. By drinking before and during your meal, you will be more sensitive to the aroma of the food and eat more.
Not only that, but alcohol may also damage part of your brain’s nerves reducing your ability to judge and control.[*]
12. You have thyroid problems
The hormones secreted by the thyroid can control metabolism and help the body use energy correctly.
If the thyroid is not fully functional, it will directly affect your normal metabolism.
Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms, including increased hunger.
Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:
- neck swelling
- weight loss
- feeling hot
- irritability, nervousness and mood swings
- frequent urination
13. You have type 2 diabetes
If you often feel hungry, be alert to the possibility of type 2 diabetes.
One of the causes of type 2 diabetes is that the sugar in your blood cannot be transported to the cells. High blood sugar levels can cause insulin resistance, which blocks the brain from receiving and sending satiety signals. This can make you always feel hungry.
14. You’re stressed out
Stress and anxiety can increase the level of cortisol, which is a hormone that has been proven to promote hunger and induce appetite.
When people are nervous, depressed, or under pressure, it is easy to use food to comfort their nerves.
15. You have leptin resistance
Leptin is a satiety hormone. When the stomach is filled with food, leptin will transmit signals to the brain to say: I am full and signal a person to stop eating.
Generally speaking, every time you finish eating, your leptin level will rise.
However, if your body develops a resistance to leptin, it will block its normal signal pathway to the brain, which is why you don’t feel full, even though you have eaten a lot.
Many people who are overweight or obese have leptin resistance, which makes them always feel hungry.
16. You’re taking certain medications
There are some medications that affect the body’s metabolism and can increase your appetite.
The most common medications include antipsychotics such as clozapine and olanzapine, as well as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, corticosteroids and antiepileptic drugs.
In addition, some diabetes medications, such as insulin, insulin secretagogues and thiazolidinedione, are also known to increase hunger and appetite.
17. You’re eating too fast
If you eat too fast, you may take in too many calories before you realize you’ve eaten enough.
Eating too quickly is linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance and makes you feel hungry faster than those who are used to chewing slowly.
Slowing down when you eat, and chewing each bite for a while, can increase the feeling of fullness and reduce the amount of food you eat.
When you don’t chew adequately, your brain will not have time to release any anti-hunger hormones. This results in overeating.
18. You’re being bored
Feeling hungry can actually be caused by something as simple as boredom.
When you’re bored you may lose your ability to make the right food choices and you may become an “emotional eater.” Most of the time you eat much more junk food than you normally would.
Eating too much junk food can lead to high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
How To Reduce Hunger?
Now, you should have a rough idea of why you always feel hungry or can’t eat enough.
Here is a summary of a few methods to help reduce that always being hungry feeling. These methods can definitely help when you follow them.
1. Eat a low-carbohydrate diet.
2. Increase protein and high-quality fat in your daily diet.
3. Eat fewer sweets.
4. Eating slowly.
5. Drink plenty of water, especially a glass of water before meals.
6. Eat more soluble dietary fiber:
- whole grains such as oats and barley
- blackberries, avocado, lemon, citrus, apples, pineapples, bananas and other fruits
- cabbage, alfalfa, brussels sprouts, peas, broad beans and other vegetables
- flaxseed, chia seeds and other seeds
7. Drink black coffee, green tea or apple cider vinegar.
8. Reduce your alcohol intake.
9. Avoid restrictive dieting.
10. Try to reduce stress by:
- listening to music, walking, exercising, chatting with friends and family, yoga and meditation, etc.
11. Ensure adequate sleep.
- for at least eight hours per night
12. Supplement enough Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Studies have shown that insufficient Omega-3 fatty acid can increase the release of ghrelin.
13. For increased appetite caused by diseases, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism, early treatment is required.
In fact, being hungry most of the time may just be in your head. Your body may not need any extra energy.
With a little change in your eating habits, a little more confidence, and more self-control, you can reduce that feeling of hunger. This is also a necessary method if you want to lose weight.