It becomes really difficult if you are on a diet or trying to lose weight and feel always hungry. Weight loss doesn’t need to be a constant fight with hunger.
It is quite possible to eat enough, feel full and still lose weight. So there can be different reasons, including medical ones, for your constantly hungry feelings.
Why you are hungry all the time
Here are top reasons that make you looking for more food even after meals.
1. You are on an always hungry diet
There are certain extreme diets which can make you feel hungry and crave for food. These fad diets are not safe, can make you sick and are almost never for long term weight loss.
So if you are on a diet that drastically reduces your calorie intake below the minimum recommended calories per day of 1200 for women and 2000 for men, you will continue to have hunger pangs 24 hours.
2. High carb diet
Carbs are quicker than protein and fats in digestion and becoming part of blood.(1) High carbs raise blood insulin levels which makes you feel hungrier.
Also a high carb diet without fiber and protein means your stomach gets emptier quickly which makes your body need more food.
3. High sugar diet
Diets high in sugar increase production of a hormone called ghrelin which can make us feel less full and more hungry. Moreover similar to carbs, sugar are even faster in becoming part of blood and raising insulin. (2)
4. Low fiber diet
Fiber in food slows down digestion which means that we will remain fuller for longer. When our food lacks fiber, it is digested more quickly and we are constantly hungry.
5. Liquid calories
Drinks like soda and sweetened beverages are shallow calories which means that our bodies do not register these because our stomach clear these drinks quickly, retaining only the calories and not the feelings of fullness.
In order to prevent constantly feelings hungry, more of your diet should come from solids, preferably vegetables, fruits and protein.
6. Low fat diet
Fats have long been an enemy of fitness. However, recent research has pointed out that having enough fats are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. They take longer to get digested.
When you eat less than recommended fats in your diet, you will have more food cravings. Therefore, if you want to avoid frequent hunger while on a diet, you should include healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and coconut oil, omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
The famous author of book Always Hungry advocates eating more fats.
7. Sleep deficit
Less than recommended sleep would make you feel lethargic and on low energy. A natural result will be a desire to eat more and a feeling of perpetual hunger. (3)
Sleep also regulates appetite controlling hormone ghrelin which might well be the reason that you will feel always hungry never full.
8. Low protein diet
One of the key factors in appetite control is getting enough protein in your diet on a daily basis because it is more satiating. (4) There are hunger reducing properties associated with protein which will not only help you eat less calories but also kill your always hungry spells.
So as a remedy, try eating more lean protein like poultry, fish, eggs and meat and take control of your hunger.
9. Not drinking enough water
Water is so important for life. It is required for all body functions. And it also gives you a feeling of fullness. So when you are not drinking enough water, not only your stomach will feel empty and you will feel hungry but also you will feel low on energy.
Therefore, try to drink enough water during the day. Eating water filled vegetables and fruits can also help.
10. Lots of booze
Alcohol is known for stimulating appetite because it reduces production of appetite suppressing hormones like leptin.
Therefore, if you have been drinking often of late, you make feel hungry often too. Therefore, drink moderately or even better if you can avoid it completely.
11. Lots of exercise
Exercise burns calories and if you are exercising more than normal, you will feel hungrier because the body needs to burn calories to exercise. Also when you have exercised, your body keeps burning calories for many hours afterwards which might cause you to feel hungry.
Obviously you can eat healthy foods to balance off the extra calories that you have been using at workouts.
Stress is known for increasing food intake because of mindless eating. You try to seek comfort in food and this might increase your diet intake. Though you will not be hungry in real, but because of stress you will want to eat more.
Try to reduce stress in your life. One of the things you can start with is exercise which is known to produce happy hormones.
Medical conditions that cause always hungry feelings
There are certain medical conditions which make you feel constantly hungry (in any case for all medical related conditions you should consult your doctor immediately):
- Type 2 Diabetes. Your body produces more insulin and your calories never reach your body cells because insulin tries its best to push out these calories through your urine. The result, your body is hungry all the time.
- Hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar level is two low, you will feel extremely low on energy and looking for more food. Some of the reasons for hypoglycemia may include hepatitis, kidney disorders, pancreas issues, adrenal and pituitary glands issues.
- Certain medicines. Especially anti allergy, antidepressants and steroids are known to cause hunger pangs.
- Thyroid issues. If your thyroid hormones are out of balance, permanent hunger may be one of the symptoms.
- Pregnancy. If you are pregnant and you still do not know, this might explain your hunger.
The bottom line
Excessive hunger is a way of body telling us that it needs more food. This can be caused by several reasons.
First of all if you are not eating enough, make sure you eat enough balanced food as per minimum diet recommendations. Don’t forget to include protein, fiber and fats in your diet.
If you feel hungry often, it might be a good reason to look at your lifestyle and diet and make necessary adjustments and things will surely improve.