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12 Reasons Why You Are Always Hungry

Hunger is the natural way of the body telling you that it needs more fuel. Most people feel hungry so much that they keep on munching snacks throughout the day. But, what is the reason behind you feeling hungry all the time? We'll explain here.

There can be plenty of reasons why you feel hungry even when you have eaten. They range from issues that are not necessarily under your control like thyroid to lifestyle issues such as high stress levels, lack of sleep etc. that you can actually alter.

So, in order to help you better comprehend why you're constantly feeling hungry, here is a list of reasons.

1. Dieting

People who are on a diet feel hungry all the time. Because as a part of the diet plan, people restrict their calorie intake. Consuming fewer calories than the body burns causes the body to produce a hormone called ghrelin, the hunger hormone. A diet low in calories increases ghrelin production and causes hunger, even after a person has just eaten [1] .

2. Type 2 Diabetes

A person with type 2 diabetes can also feel hungry all the time. The reason being diabetes causes glucose to stay in the blood instead of reaching the cells, which use it as a source of energy. This makes a person hungry.

3. Low-protein Diet

Protein increases the production of hormones that keep you full and lowers the level of hormones that stimulate hunger [2] . So, if you aren't eating enough protein, you may tend to feel hungry frequently. Eat protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, fish, milk, yogurt, legumes, etc.

4. Low-carb Diet

Consuming less complex carbohydrates and more refined carbohydrates increases your hunger cravings. Complex carbohydrates contain more nutrients and take time for the body to digest, so this causes a feeling of fullness for a longer time. On the other hand, refined carbs do not provide the feeling of fullness [3] .

5. High-sugar Diet

According to a study, eating excess sugar, particularly fructose leads to an increased appetite [4] . Because the body produces more ghrelin and affects the brain activity which signals your body that you are hungry.

6. Low-fibre Diet

Not eating enough fibrous foods intensifies your hunger cravings. High-fibre foods take a longer time to digest which is beneficial for keeping your hunger under control [5] . So, if you are always feeling hungry, it might because you are missing out on foods rich in fibre.

7. Not sleeping enough

Not sleeping properly disrupts the body's natural hormonal balance, which may increase the feeling of hunger in some people. According to a study, men who had poor sleep had higher ghrelin levels and ate more than those who slept normally [6] .

8. Dehydration

Drinking water before meals keeps your stomach full. One of the reasons for feeling hungry frequently is that you aren't drinking enough amount of water which, in turn, causes dehydration. Drink 8 glasses of water and eat water-rich foods like watermelon, oranges, pomelo, etc.

9. Exercising a lot

High-intensity exercises burn a lot of calories. A research study has shown that people who exercise daily tend to have a faster metabolism, which means they burn more calories at rest [7] . To prevent excessive hunger from exercising, simply eat more to fuel your body.

10. Drinking excess alcohol

Alcohol is known for its appetite-stimulating effects. Alcohol inhibits hormones that reduce appetite, such as leptin, especially when you drink it before or with meals [8] . It is advisable to consume in moderate quantities or avoid it completely.

11. Overactive thyroid

One of the symptoms of overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism is persistent hunger. According to a study published in the Journal of Thyroid Research, hyperthyroidism elevates energy expenditure and reduces body weight significantly.

12. Excess stress

Stress is another major factor in increasing your appetite. Excessive stress elevates cortisol levels which have been shown to promote hunger and food cravings [9] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Sayer, R. D., Peters, J. C., Pan, Z., Wyatt, H. R., & Hill, J. O. (2018). Hunger, Food Cravings, and Diet Satisfaction are Related to Changes in Body Weight During a 6-Month Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention: The Beef WISE Study.Nutrients,10(6), 700.
  2. [2] Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R. D., Wolfe, R. R., Astrup, A., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and satiety.The American journal of clinical nutrition,87(5), 1558S-1561S.
  3. [3] Martin, C. K., Rosenbaum, D., Han, H., Geiselman, P. J., Wyatt, H. R., Hill, J. O., … Foster, G. D. (2011). Change in food cravings, food preferences, and appetite during a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet.Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.),19(10), 1963–1970.
  4. [4] Lowette, K., Roosen, L., Tack, J., & Vanden Berghe, P. (2015). Effects of high-fructose diets on central appetite signaling and cognitive function.Frontiers in nutrition,2, 5.
  5. [5] Lattimer, J. M., & Haub, M. D. (). Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health.Nutrients,2(12), 1266–1289.
  6. [6] Broussard, J. L., Kilkus, J. M., Delebecque, F., Abraham, V., Day, A., Whitmore, H. R., & Tasali, E. (2016). Elevated ghrelin predicts food intake during experimental sleep restriction.Obesity,24(1), 132-138.
  7. [7] Amin, A., Dhillo, W. S., & Murphy, K. G. (). The central effects of thyroid hormones on appetite.Journal of thyroid research,2011, 306510.
  8. [8] Caton, S. J., Nolan, L. J., & Hetherington, M. M. (2015). Alcohol, appetite and loss of restraint.Current obesity reports,4(1), 99-105.
  9. [9] Groesz, L. M., McCoy, S., Carl, J., Saslow, L., Stewart, J., Adler, N., … Epel, E. (2012). What is eating you? Stress and the drive to eat.Appetite,58(2), 717–721.
Story first published: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 18:01 [IST]
Read more about: hunger food
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