14 Reasons You Are Hungry All the Time (and How to Fix It)
If your stomach “growls” constantly, asking for food, and feeling empty it’s not always about being actually hungry. There are many reasons why you cannot find a feeling of fullness and feel starving even though you’ve recently eaten. Late-night visits to the fridge for food cravings may be a simple sign of an improper diet or a warning for a medical issue that you need to check out with your doctor.
Bright Side has done some research and gathered various likely explanations of why your body craves more food. Here are some reasons for that feeling and what to do to prevent it.
1. Eating too many refined carbs
Refined carbs can be found in any processed foods especially pasta, baked goods, and sugary foods. The lack of fiber makes your body digest them fast, so hunger comes right away and the feeling of fullness that comes with eating is just temporary.
It has been proven that high-fiber foods take longer to be digested, so adding fiber into our diet is a good solution here. If you stop constantly fueling your body with refined carbs and replace them with healthier foods like whole grains, brown rice, and vegetables you’ll see a difference in your hunger levels soon.
Diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, is an illness that can make you feel hungry all the time. Because of diabetes, glucose, our source of energy stays in the blood instead of spreading into our cells. This makes the person who has it feel hungry. Many celebrities, including Tom Hanks, have been diagnosed with diabetes and yet enjoy a wonderful life.
The feeling of hunger is just one of the symptoms of diabetes, which can be diagnosed via a blood test. After a proper exam, and through medication and a special diet, it can be controlled and these symptoms will be long gone.
3. Working out a lot
This is one of the good reasons why you might feel hungry often. If you work out a lot, you burn a lot of calories and as a result, your body craves more calories. People who exercise regularly and for long durations develop a faster metabolism and a greater appetite.
Training is good for our health, so the focus should be on what and when we eat. According to studies, a nutritious meal before exercising will enhance your physical performance and also minimize the possibilities of muscle damage.
4. Being on certain medications
Increased appetite can also be a side effect of many medications because of certain elements they contain. The most common are cortisol, insulin, clozapine, and olanzapine that can be found in diabetes medications, antidepressants, or mood stabilizers.
If you gain weight or experience extensive hunger after taking a new medication, it’s best to talk to your doctor and discuss whether it’s possible to alternate your treatment or find another way to control the side effects.
5. Too much stress (emotional eating)
It is well-known that constant anxiety has serious effects on our health and increasing our appetite is one of them. Stress eating (or emotional eating) is a common disorder that proves how excess stress is connected to our feeling of hunger. Scientifically speaking, anxiety causes an increase of the hormone cortisol and leads to overeating and food cravings for unhealthy snacks.
Stress is a risk factor for obesity and should be handled early. Therapy, meditation, and exercise are ways to help you regain your balance and self-control and avoid emotional eating.
6. Eating too quickly or when you are distracted
In our busy lives, many of us choose to eat fast and while we are doing other things. Even though it might save you time, this habit is not at all good for your health. Scientists say that distracted or fast eating negatively affects our appetite rate, increases the calories we get, and leads to weight gain and constant cravings.
It is really important to give your meals the time they deserve. Take the time to sit down and eat your lunch without getting distracted, carefully chewing and enjoying every bite. That way you’ll be more aware of your feelings of fullness.
7. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
Hyperthyroidism is a malfunction of the thyroid, a gland that controls our metabolism through hormones. These hormones are released into the bloodstream and control metabolism. Having an overactive thyroid means that this gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Increased hunger feelings are part of the symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism is easily diagnosed and can be treated with either medication which normalizes hormone levels or, in excessive cases, surgery.
8. Sleep deprivation
Never underestimate a good night’s sleep. Ghrelin is the so-called “hunger hormone” that controls the feeling of our appetite in our brains. Sleep deprivation plays a very important role, since lack of sleep has been shown to increase ghrelin levels and, as a result, create feelings of hunger.
Maintaining a steady sleep schedule with at least 8 hours of sleep will help you control your hormone levels and feel better overall.
9. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or Menopause
Compulsive eating is a really common symptom in women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). During the days leading up to a period, a woman might have a greater appetite and more intense food cravings. On the other hand, the same thing can be experienced in women going through menopause due to hormonal changes and especially a decrease of estrogen, that leads to an increase in hunger.
Sticking to healthy food options, like fruits and vegetables, drinking a lot of water and including exercise in your life will help you. In case of a serious problem, you should always see a doctor since there are treatments that can be considered in these cases or even a special diet that can be recommended.
There is also the pregnancy scenario. In this case, your body craves more food for one simple reason: your baby needs to get more nutrients in order to grow in a healthy way. An increased appetite might be one of pregnancy’s symptoms, among others, like a missed period and nausea.
Studies indicate that 50–90 percent of pregnant women experience cravings. A pregnancy test will confirm whether this is why you are experiencing these cravings. If so, a conversation with your doctor can help you control your hunger and a special diet will assist you in not gaining too much weight.
11. Consuming too much alcohol
Alcohol seriously affects our appetite. According to researchers, alcohol decreases leptin, a hormone that is responsible for our feeling of fullness, especially when it’s consumed before or during meal. Drinking too much is also considered a risk factor for obesity.
You can completely leave alcohol out of your life or drink responsibly. You should avoid combining it with eating because it makes you more sensitive to food aromas and the brain is then tricked to desire more food.
12. Not drinking enough water
There are so many reasons why drinking water is good for our health, including a healthy digestive system, heart, brain, and healthy skin. Water also helps in lowering the feeling of hunger. Research has shown that people who drink water before a meal, eat fewer calories, but feel just as full.
Though it might sound weird, our brain might mistake the feeling of hunger with the feeling of thirst. So, getting proper hydration is really important. Including more water-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables in your meals will also help you decrease the feeling of hunger.
13. Lack of fat in your diet
Not getting enough fat in your diet can be as much of a problem as getting too much of it. When you consume fatty products, you slow down gastrointestinal transit time, which basically means that the food remains in your stomach longer and that leads to an increase your feeling of fullness.
A study proved that people who were constantly eating low-fat products had more continuous feelings of hunger than people who followed a full-fat diet. Choose to include fish like salmon and tuna, eggs, olive oil, and other healthy sources of fat in your diet and avoid low-fat products.
14. Not getting enough protein
The lack of protein in your diet might be another reason why you have an appetite that’s constantly “on.” Certain qualities in protein help reduce the level of hormones that arouse hunger while creating a feeling of fullness. Athletes choose a diet full of protein because it helps with weight management and improves our metabolic profile.
Other research has shown that people who ate more protein throughout the day had fewer food-obsessive thoughts about food. To get your fill of protein, you can try animal products like meat, fish, and eggs, and also dairy foods and certain vegetables and whole grains.
We hope you found some good explanations for your issues here. What does your diet include? What do you do when cravings knock at your door? Let us know in the comments.