There’s nothing worse than feeling like your stomach is some kind of bottomless pit. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current figure, always feeling hungry can make your weight goals a lot more challenging. While feeling hungry is a natural biological process, constantly feeling the need to eat can lead to detrimental eating habits and other unhealthy lifestyle choices. Luckily, persistent hunger isn’t some curse that is impossible to overcome. Check out these reasons why you might always feel hungry and how some simple changes can help to keep your hunger at bay.
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You Aren’t Consuming Enough Protein
Having a healthy diet that includes protein is an essential part of appetite control. Consuming appropriate amounts of protein helps to increase the production of hormones that signal you are full while simultaneously decreasing the hormones that make you feel hungry. In one study, 12 men who ate 25% of their calories in the form of protein experienced a 50% reduction in their urge to snack over a 12-week period.
However, consuming protein doesn’t always mean eating meat. You can add protein to your diet in the form of various dairy products such as milk and yogurt as well as plant-based options such as nuts and seeds.
Proper Amounts Of Sleep Help To Reduce Hunger
Sleep is all around one of the most basic aspects to living a healthy lifestyle. Besides providing your body and mind with much-needed energy, it helps to strengthen you immune system and even decreases the risks of chronic illnesses. Furthermore, it aids in appetite control as it regulates the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin.
If you’re not sleeping enough, your ghrelin levels will be higher, leading you to feel hungry more often. Getting the recommended amount of sleep, at least eight hours also helps produce leptin, a hormone that makes the body feel full.
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Stay Away From Refined Carbs
Typically, refined carbs are broken down into two categories – sugars and grains. one of the most common refined carbs is white flour, which is often found in different kinds of bread and pasta. Other foods made with processed sugar such as soda or candy are also considered to be refined carbs.
These refined carbs don’t have essentially fibers which allow your body to digest them very quickly, leading you to feel hungry not long after consuming them. Refined carbs also lead to rapid blood sugar fluctuations which might confuse your body into thinking that it’s hungry when it really isn’t about needing to eat.
Fat Isn’t Always A Bad Thing
While most people tend to shy away from fat in their diet, it isn’t always a bad thing. While too much of it can be detrimental, if your diet is low in fat, it can be a leading cause as to why you’re always hungry. Fats takes a long time to digest and break down in the body, leaving you still feeling full for some time after eating.
Introducing more fat into your diet doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthily. Some great and healthy sources of fat are options such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, and more.
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Fiber Is Key
Another reason why you may have persistent hunger is that your diet is lacking fiber. High-fiber foods take longer to digest than low-fiber foods and release short-chain fatty acids which produce the feeling of being full. Not only does fiber help with appetite control, but has other health benefits for the digestive system as well as reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
However, there are different kinds of fiber, with soluble fiber having been found to be the best for controlling hunger. This kind of fiber can be found in foods such as sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, fruit, whole grains and more.
Avoid Multi-Tasking While Eating
It’s also important to take time out of your day specifically to eat. If you try and save time by eating while on the go, working, or being distracted in any other way, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Distracted eating has been linked to a greater appetite, weight gain, and increased calorie intake. If you’re eating while distracted, you may lose awareness as to how much you’re actually eating.
Ever opened up a family-sized bag of chips while watching TV only to discover you ate them all? Exactly. Sitting down and focusing on eating will help you think about what you’re eating and be better in touch with the signs that your body is full.
A Lot Of Exercising Leads To Increased Hunger
If you’re involved in high-intensity sports or exercise frequently, your body is going to crave those calories that you are constantly burning. This is also due to an increased metabolism which is common among highly athletic individuals. For example, men who partook in an intense 45-minute workout increased their metabolic rate by 37% for that day compared to those who did not.
One way to help decrease your appetite if you’re very active is to eat the right foods that will help fuel your workout and keep the body full even after. Foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats are ideal.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Considering that the human body is around 60% water, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water not only provides energy and promotes healthy brain and heart function but it’s also incredibly beneficial for your digestive system. Although it may not seem like it, water can be incredibly filling and can help reduce your appetite when consumed before meals.
According to one study, 14 people who drank two cups of water before a meal ate 600 calories less than those who drank no water. So, if you’re feeling hungry, try drinking some water because you might just be thirsty. Not only will it help decrease your appetite, but it’s great for you too!
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Take It Easy On The Booze
Despite the fact that alcohol, especially beer can be very filling, it’s also a known appetite stimulator. Alcohol has been proven to stop appetite reducing hormones such as leptin from being as effective. This is why you might have a case of the “drunchies” after a night of drinking and find yourself eating a loaded burrito at 2 AM.
In a study focused on the habits of men, 12 individuals who drank 1.5 ounces of alcohol before a meal ate 300 more calories than those who only drank 0.3 ounces. In addition to making you hungry, alcohol also inhibits your judgment which may lead you to not only eating unhealthy but also eating too much.
Stress Eating Is A Thing
Being overly stressed has been proven to be correlated with increased appetite. Stress increases the levels of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone that leads to food cravings. In one case, 59 women who were under a lot of stress consumed more calories a day and were eating a lot of sweet and unhealthy foods.
In another study, 350 girls were observed and those with higher stress levels tended to overeat and eat more unhealthy than those with lower stress levels. To avoid stress eating, it’s important to take time to focus on your mental health and find what helps you relax.
Medications Can Be A Factor
There are a ton of medications with the side effects of increased appetite. The most common of these medications are antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-seizure prescriptions. Furthermore, some diabetes medications have also been known to have similar effects.
While many people rely on these types of medications, if it’s seriously affecting your hunger in an unhealthy way, there’s nothing wrong with talking to your doctor about alternative treatment methods. There may be a prescription out there that may not affect your appetite as much.
Drinking You Calories Doesn’t Necessarily Make You Full
While liquids and blended foods do have the capability to make you feel full, they affect your appetite differently than solid foods. If you frequently consume meal replacement shakes, soups, or other liquid-based foods, chances are you’ll be hungry faster than someone who ate solid food. This is because liquids travel through your digestive system faster.
Furthermore, consuming liquid foods is usually a quick process, leaving you wanting more regardless of all the calories you may have consumed. It was also found that those who consumed a liquid snack were hungrier sooner and ate 400 more calories throughout the day than those who ate solid food.
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Be Aware Of The Speed You Are Eating
The speed that you eat definitely has an effect on your hunger later on. Fast eaters tend to have a greater appetite than those who may take their time during meals. Fast eaters tend to feel less full because they don’t allow their stomachs to properly expand over the course of a meal.
Eating slowly and chewing your food fully allows gives your brain and body the proper amount of time to communicate when you are actually full instead of just racing to finish your meal. To reduce your speed of eating put down your fork in between bites and try chewing your food thoroughly.
A Possible Medical Condition
Sometimes, constantly feeling hungry can be the result of a disease. It can be a sign of diabetes which occurs due to high blood sugar levels and can also result in fatigue, weight loss, and persistent thirst.
Having an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, can also lead to increased hunger as it causes the overproduction of thyroid hormones which make you feel hungry. Frequent hunger can also be a side effect of various mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have any of these issues.
It Could Be Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is the result of low blood sugar when the glucose in your body drops down to extremely low levels. Low blood sugar triggers hunger, specifically carbohydrate cravings, which could lead to constant hunger.
This is extremely common for people that have been diagnosed with diabetes, although other health issues can result in hypoglycemia as well. These conditions include hepatitis, kidney disorders, and other issues with the adrenal and pituitary glands. besides hunger, other symptoms include shaking, sweating, weakness, and anxiety.
Dieting Usually Results In Hunger
If you’re trying out a diet whether to loose weight or stay where you are, this can result in constant hunger. Many diets are low-calorie, which causes you to eat less than your body is typically used to.
When you’re consuming less calories than your body is burning, it releases the grehlin hormone which is often referred to as the “hungry hormone.” Even after you have just eaten, if on a low-calorie diet, your body may still be asking for more. It’s up to you whether you decide to give it what it wants.
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Eating Because You’re Bored
A lot of people find themselves snacking away when they’re lying around all day. If you remain stagnant for extended periods of time, your body might confuse boredom with hunger. For this reason, it’s important to stay active and keep yourself distracted from mindless eating.
In addition, bored eating tends to lead to unhealthy eating because people want to comfort themselves and cure their boredom by eating things that taste good instead of other healthy alternatives.
High Salt Consumption
Consuming mass amounts of salt has also been linked to constantly feeling hungry. According to the American Hear Association, the average American eats more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. However, the AHA advises that a person should not ingest more than 2,300 milligrams a day.
These high levels of sodium are not only detrimental to heart health but can also cause hunger. In 2016, 48 adults participated in a study which demonstrates that those who had more sodium in their meals tended to eat more than those who had less sodium.
You’re Too Busy Counting Calories
When people are trying to eat healthier they tend to count calories assuming that the fewer calories they eat the more fat they will lose. However, calories aren’t the only thing that suppresses hunger, it’s the types of nutrients you consume such as fiber, protein, and fats.
So, if you opt for a snack that’s low in calories, they aren’t always giving you the nutrients that you need in order to satiate hunger. So, even if you think that you’re eating enough food just with fewer calories, you really aren’t doing anything in terms of eliminating hunger.
You’re Constantly Bombarded With Food Posts
In this day and age, social media is king. Using various social media accounts, many people choose to follow food pages and people that post pictures and videos of mouthwatering food countless times a day.
Even if you weren’t hungry before, that video of a double bacon mac and cheese cheeseburger being prepared might just have you thinking about grabbing a snack. So, your best bet is to avoid those accounts immediately and stop torturing yourself by watching food videos of food that you can’t have and are usually unhealthy anyways.