This Is What It Means if You're Hungry All the Time
If you're never satisfied after eating, it's time to find out why.
Despite all the temptations around you, you still manage to hit the gym after work, balance your carb, protein, and fat intake, and make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. But day after day and night after night, your stomach is rumbling, practically begging for food even after you just ate a full meal. It's a confusing situation, for sure, leaving you wondering, "What am I doing wrong that I'm always hungry?"
Feeling hunger pangs all the time is a common problem that has multiple causes. In some cases, people are always hungry because their diet is lacking in fiber. In other situations, people aren't eating enough to keep up with how much they're exercising. Every body is different! So keep reading to discover some of the most common culprits behind constant hunger. And for more eating advice, don't miss the 40 Best Weight Loss Tricks for People Over 40.
Your meals are improperly sized.
Eating meals that are either too small or too large can mess with your hormones, specifically a hormone called grehlin.
"Grehlin—the hormone that makes you feel hungry—elevates because of rapid blood sugar fluctuations," Sarah Petty, the nutritionist behind Sage Advice Wellness, explains. "This can occur when your previous meal was too large, too small, or even too starchy." So eating improperly sized meals can actually make you hungrier.
You're not eating enough fat or fiber.
Grehlin is a very sensitive hormone. Not only can it be affected by the size of your meals, but also by what they are comprised of. "Grehlin can become elevated when your meals are not satisfying enough," says Petty. "This could be because they are too low in fat, too low in protein, too low in fiber, or because they were just too low in overall calories."
This is especially common amongst dieters, who tend not to eat enough or get enough nutrients in a misguided attempt to lose weight.
You're not eating enough to compensate for your exercise.
Working out is great for the mind, body, and soul. However, exercise tends to increase the average person's metabolic rate. If you don't eat more food on the days you hit the gym, you're going to end up feeling hungry.
Sports medicine specialist Jennifer Beck, MD explained to Self that skipping a post-workout refuel session can be the cause of your hunger. "Some people will just feel fatigue, and some people can get disoriented from low blood sugar," she said.
Stress has just as much of an effect on your hunger levels as your food intake does. The more stressed you feel, the higher your levels of a stress hormone called cortisol are.
Studies have shown that cortisol promotes both feelings of hunger and food cravings. In fact, one study published in the journal Appetite found that "perceived stress was related to an increased lack of control over eating, greater hunger, and more frequent binge eating."
You're consuming liquids more than solids.
Liquids aren't processed by the body the same way that solids are. In one meta-analysis published in Trends in Food Science & Technology, scientists examined the effects of liquids and solids on hunger. The researchers found that "liquid calories have weaker effects on satiety." They hypothesize that smoothies, shakes, and the like do not suppress hunger hormones the same way that solid foods do. If you're always hungry and on a liquid diet, you may need to reconsider your approach.
Your brain isn't getting the message.
Some people suffer from a condition called leptin resistance, which makes it impossible for the brain to know when they're starving or satiated, no matter how much they eat.
"Leptin resistance is common when there is extra fat storage in the body," explains Perry. "Fat cells produce leptin, and when a person has a lot of fat cells, they typically produce a lot of leptin. The body can become insensitive to it because it is accustomed to having such high levels all the time." If you're worried that your size is contributing to your satiety (or lack thereof), then check out This Is the Safest Way to Lose Weight Fast.
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