9 Reasons Why You Are Always Hungry
Are you always hungry? Does your stomach start to rumble in between meals or late at night? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there are a few things you should know about how to fix it.
No matter if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, frequent hunger can be frustrating. Sometimes you might feel full for only a short amount of time after eating a decent sized meal, or maybe you get hungry late at night while you should be sleeping. This happens to many people for many different reasons.
There are a range of possibilities why you might feel the urge to eat all of the time and we’ll go over 9 reasons why you are always hungry in this article to help you figure out the “why’s” and “how’s”.
1. Is It Really Hunger Or Are You Thirsty?
I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes people really can mistake hunger for thirst. That’s because both hunger and thirst can set off the exact same symptoms/alerts within the body such as a mild headache, lightheadedness, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.
Mild dehydration can occur when your body’s fluid levels decrease by only 1 to 2 percent, so it doesn’t take much for the symptoms of thirst to rear their ugly heads.
2. You’re Not Eating Nutrient-Dense Meals
Sure, you may be getting in your protein, carbs, and fats with each meal you consume but the source of those macronutrients is what matters most.
If you’re eating a meal such as a loaded cheeseburger and fries, it’s quite possible that you will be hungry within an hour, no matter how big that type of meal is. Why? Eating fast food and junk food leaves your body and brain saying “I’m still hungry” because our bodies are looking for certain nutrients to fuel the system.
When your meals are lacking fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, the brain doesn’t get satisfied so-to-speak. Also, when you consume large amounts of unhealthy types of fat, you can become resistant to the hormone Leptin which is produced by the brain and suppresses hunger
4. You’re Eating Too Much Salt
Salt is added to many processed foods, snack foods, and even various seasoning mixes for cooking. It’s found in canned soups, dips, condiments, and so much more. This can make it almost impossible to avoid for some people. But too much salt in your diet might just be the reason you are always feeling hungry.
Many people might think that salt actually makes you thirstier but, in a study published by The Journal of Clinical Investigation, its findings were just the opposite. The subjects were made to eat a diet high in sodium for 105 days. This caused the subjects to drink less than they usually would and triggered the kidneys to hold onto more water and produce Urea, a process that requires a lot of energy and causes hunger, not thirst
5. You’re Not Sleeping Enough
Sleep deprived individuals are more likely to have a higher body fat percentage. That’s because a lack of sleep doesn’t give your body time to recover and reset various hormone levels. Especially cortisol and ghrelin levels.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. When cortisol levels are high in the body (which can happen through lack of sleep), this can cause severe hunger.
The same goes for ghrelin, a hormone that is produced in the stomach and stimulates hunger and fat storage in the body. For individuals who are short on sleep, ghrelin levels are typically higher, causing you to be hungry throughout the day.
5. You’re Carb Intake Is Much Too High
Not all carbs are bad and cause weight gain and hunger. First, you have your complex carbs. These carbs are slower to digest and release energy at a steady pace. Complex carbs such as whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables are also loaded with healthy nutrients and fiber to keep you feeling fuller longer.
Next, you have your simple and starchy carbs, these are the ones that can cause the issue of hunger. When you consume simple carbs such as white bread, crackers, cakes, sweets, soda, fruit juices, etc., your blood sugar levels quickly spike and then plunge very soon after.
That plunge in the blood sugar levels is what causes the intense hunger for more sugary carbs and the vicious cycle continues.
6. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is something that should be consumed as few and far between as possible. Not only is it toxic to our bodies, but it could also be the reason for severe hunger.
Alcohol can quickly dehydrate you, tricking you into feeling hungry when you are actually thirsty. It also triggers the brain to crave foods that are greasy and high in fat, even if you are already full from eating.
7. You’re Lacking Protein In Your Diet
Protein can keep those hunger pangs from creeping up all of the time. That’s because lean protein and healthy fats keep the brain satisfied.
Protein stays in your stomach much longer, promotes the feeling of fullness, and has an appetite suppressing effect as well.
Because protein takes longer to digest, it’s also one of the most thermogenic foods you can eat. This means that it takes a lot of energy (calories) for the body to process it.
Some healthy sources of lean proteins are foods such as Greek yogurt, turkey, chicken breast, and whole grains. Shoot for at least 46 grams per day if you are a woman, and 56 grams per day for men.
8. You’re Not Eating Enough Fat
Typically, a lot of health-conscience people try to avoid fat at all cost. We’ve been told for years that fat makes you fat and that’s it’s unhealthy. Truth is, fat is essential. It’s the delivery system for hormones, it’s needed for brain function, muscle growth, and even fat loss!
Not just any fat will do though, we need healthy fats from healthy sources in order for these things to take place.
Consuming healthy fats from sources such as olive oil, eggs, nuts, seeds, and avocados will promote satiety, and when you’re satisfied after a healthy meal, you’re more likely to eat when you are only truly hungry.
9. You’re Stressed Out
Stress is a killer! It can wreak havoc on your system and even cause you to feel hungry.
When you are stressed out, your system increases the production of the stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol. When the levels of those particular hormones are elevated, it can trick your system into thinking that it’s under fire and needs more energy. It’s a survival mechanism that causes your appetite to rage.
How to Prevent Yourself from Always Being Hungry
Now that you know many reasons behind constant hunger, you can simply make a few of the following changes to help keep you from being hungry all of the time.
- Let go of the stress– Easier said than done, I know. But there are many different ways you can de-stress. Take a short amount of time each day to unwind and help lower your stress levels. Listen to soothing music in a hot bath, read a book, take a beginner yoga class, or even go for a long healthy walk.
- Adjust your sleep schedule- More sleep equals less hunger. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Shut off all screens, devices, and avoid eating and drinking 1-2 hours before bedtime. Calm yourself with a book or some easy stretching and your brain will get used to a routine sleep pattern this way.
- Adjust your diet- Add more lean protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and lots of fiber-filled fresh fruits and veggies to your daily meals and try to avoid crash/fad diets, added sugar, too much caffeine, alcohol, salt, and processed foods.
You might be surprised how changing your eating habits, sleep routine, and acting to control your stress levels can make a big difference in your hunger throughout the day. Give it a try and see how these changes will work to help control your hunger.