Hunger can be much more complicated than just calculating how long it has been since your last meal and some people find that they are hungry the majority of the time. This may be concerning and many people are surprised to learn that the sensation of hunger can involve numerous factors. Learning why you always feel hungry may help you combat your excessive appetite and lead to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Read on to learn more about 10 possible reasons you’re always wanting to eat.
1. Eating Too Quickly
You may be a busy person who’s quick fix is eating as quickly as you can between meetings or projects. However, this may not be beneficial to curbing your hunger as studies have shown that eating slowly allows the brain to release hormones that tell your body when you are satisfied. Therefore, eating quickly does not allow the brain to release these hormones and your body is left feeling hungry, even right after eating.
Dehydration is an extremely common cause of feeling hungry because the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that controls hunger, also controls thirst and those signals frequently get mixed up. When dehydration sets in, the body gets confused and you usually reach for food when you should be drinking a glass of water. It is advised to drink a glass of water when you feel hungry and see if that feeling subsides within 20 minutes.
3. Too Little Sleep
If you’re a restless sleeper who does not seem to get enough sleep throughout the night, you may find that you are hungry as soon as you wake up. This is because when you get too little sleep your body’s level of ghrelin, a hormone which regulates appetite, soars and the level of leptin, the hormone which controls the feeling of fullness, is low. These two hormones working against you can trigger cravings for sugars and carbs, without you being genuinely hungry.
Stress can trigger feelings of hunger and may even lead to an unhealthy cycle of emotional eating; this coping mechanism can become a bad habit that is difficult to break. Many people find that hobbies they enjoy or workout routines such as yoga help them reduce their anxiety level and help them deal with their feelings of hunger caused by stress.
5. Processed Foods
Easting processed foods may be another reason you’re always feeling hungry. These prepackaged foods and beverages often contain high fructose corn syrup, which has been shown to reduce the production of leptin, which is the hormone that tells your brain when you’re full.
6. Skipping Breakfast
When you skip breakfast, your metabolism slows and can cause you to feel hungry. Skipping breakfast can make your body feel that it needs to “make-up” the skipped meal with extra food throughout the day. In addition, people who consistently skip breakfast are likely to be less physically active than those who eat breakfast regularly.
7. Too Much Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can stimulate the feeling of hunger even when your stomach is full. Also, alcohol is dehydrating to the body and can trick you into thinking you need food when in reality, your body is asking for water.
8. Not Consuming Enough Protein
Lean protein can help keep the feeling of hunger under control. Not only does protein produce the feeling of fullness but it has been shown to suppress the appetite. Greek yogurt, lean meats and eggs are just a few of the best sources of protein.
Some medications such as antidepressants and corticosteroids have been shown to increase appetite. If this is a bothersome side effect for you, be sure to speak to your doctor about the possibility of switching medications.
If your excessive hunger is accompanied by blurry vision, extreme thirst and frequent urination, you may want to talk to your doctor about being tested for diabetes.