Have you ever been in a quiet room with other people, attending to important stuff when out of the blue you hear the Kraken growl? You pretend as if nothing happened, but everyone knows it was you. When you’re hungry, your primary objective is to feed the monster in your stomach.
Even if a group of people eats together every day, they might feel hungry at varied points in the day. They also might have distinct reactions to their cravings. Feeling (h)angry, bloated, irritated, suffering from a headache, or lack of concentration are common effects of being famished.
While most people usually start feeling hungry only around their mealtimes, some experience a constant bulldozer rolling in their bellies throughout the day.
18 Reasons Why You’re Always Hungry
It might come as a shocker, so brace for it. Most of the time, what you’re experiencing is not hunger but thirst. The human body is 60% water. Additionally, according to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the brain and heart are 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water.
The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery (31%). You should drink anywhere between 2-3 gallons of water every day to function at optimal levels and avoid feeling thirsty and hungry.
If you’re always hungry, try drinking a couple of glasses of water and check if the hunger dies down. If your appetite subsides, know that you had been answering false alarms all along.
People eat more when they are overwrought. It is such a common phenomenon that they even have a term for it – stress eating. To make matters worse, stress and anxiety act as fat magnets. According to studies, a rise in stress levels can cause a cortisol spike in your body.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Not only does cortisol make you feel hungry all the time, but it also makes your body store excess fat. Before you begin cursing cortisol, you should know why it does what it does. With generations of evolution, the human body started producing cortisol as a fight or flight response. When our ancestors went on their usual workdays and encountered a lion, the cortisol production kicked in and bumped up the fat store to ensure the early men could stay in hiding for long periods.
We are sure your stress levels are nothing compared to facing a lion.
3. Dietary Displacement
There are two types of dietary displacements: negative and positive. Negative dietary displacement includes swapping healthy eats for non-nutritious foods. It can lead to:
- Rebound overeating
- Lack of satiety
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increase in fat store levels
- Low energy levels
- Obnoxious calorie intake
On the flip side, positive dietary displacement includes switching from unhealthy foods to nutrient-rich meals. A positive diet displacement will help you feel fuller for longer. Also, you don’t want to be the guy who skips eating beans, tomatoes, broccoli because you’re tight on your calorie budget, but on the other hand, feast on a frappuccino at Starbucks later in the evening.
4. You’re Too Focused on The Calorie Counter
With the rise of the calorie counting apps like MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe, people have become obsessive about counting their calories. Some people try to meet their daily calorie requirements without any regard for their macronutrient sources.
Your calories should come from quality sources. Remember: it’s not the calories that satiate your hunger but the nutrients (fiber, protein, and healthy fats). Pro tip: ditch the “healthy snacks” and make nutrient-dense foods like chicken breast, broccoli, sweet potatoes a part of your diet.
Check out this article: 35 Low-Calorie Nutritious Foods You Should Be Eating
5. Lack Of Protein In Your Diet
If you want to build muscle mass while losing body fat simultaneously, protein is your best bet. Protein is a potent tool for appetite control as it keeps you feeling full for extended periods. It also ensures you don’t fall off your diet program at first sight of a donut.
Protein works by increasing the production of hormones that signal fullness and curtail the hormone levels that stimulate hunger. If you are always hungry, you should make a high-quality protein source a part of each meal.
6. Consuming a Low Fat Diet
Most people, especially the ones on a diet, think of fats as their archenemies. Fats play a vital role in keeping your joints and ligaments in optimal condition. It also helps you feel satiated for long periods due to its slow gastrointestinal transit times, meaning that it takes longer for you to digest and remains in your stomach longer.
7. Your Snacks Are In Plain Sight
Many people can’t differentiate between being bored and hungry, and Netflix and chilling add to the trouble. If nachos are your weakness, having a stock of them at your home isn’t a good idea. Remember: what’s in the cupboards will end up in your tummy, and what remains out of sight will stay out of the mouth.
A study conducted by Cambridge researchers shows that “visual hunger” has programmed our guts to release ghrelin at the mere sight of food. The phenomenon can lead to false hunger.
8. Too Many Nightouts With The Gang
If you go out with your friends for a drink or two but end up with 22, you know you have a problem. A study in the American Journal of Nutrition shows that alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake.
On top of that, alcohol causes dehydration which sends us back to Point #1.
9. Eating Is A Chore For You
Some people want to get done with eating as fast as they can. They stuff their mouths with food and don’t care if they look like a caveman doing so. Many studies have shown that fast eaters gradually develop a big appetite and a tendency to overeat.
Most of these people are in the habit of doing other stuff like watching TV or listening to music while eating. A new study proves that your eyes and ears should be focused on your food while you’re eating, or you’ll end up eating more.
10. You Love Them Empty Calories
Empty calories are calories that count towards your daily calorie goal but don’t contain any macronutrients. Soft drinks, alcohol, sugar, and carbohydrates-based desserts are some examples of empty calories.
The worst part about sugar is that it makes you crave more sugar.
Artificially sweetened products and sugar alternatives can ramp up your appetite even more than natural sugar, causing increased calorie consumption over time.
11. You Are Hardcore
No, it’s not a compliment. You can keep the leash back inside.
If you’re someone who ticks the “Highly Active” checkbox on a fitness test, you are burning more calories than the average Joe who is spending most of his days hunched over a computer.
You are likely to burn more calories throughout the day and have a faster metabolism than most people. You could also see a bump in your appetite when you switch to a high-intensity workout program.
12. Where’s The Fiber?
Eating a healthy amount of fiber not only improves nutrient absorption but can also regulate insulin levels. Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K – a micronutrient that regulates insulin levels and improves insulin sensitivity.
Better insulin sensitivity makes it easier for your body to take up sugar from your bloodstream so that it won’t have to take more of it through food. In short, eating more fiber will crush your cravings so that you don’t feel hungry throughout the day.
Read also: High-Fiber Foods You Should Eat Everyday
13. Your Gut Isn’t In The Best Shape
Gut health is one of the most overlooked aspects of the fitness lifestyle. Like Rome wasn’t built in a day, your gut health didn’t erode in an instance. It takes years of unhealthy eating centered on saturated fat and sugars to cripple your gut health.
Unhealthy eating kills the good bacteria in your stomach and gives the harmful bugs fertile ground to breed. The growls in your belly are these nasty bugs demanding their ransom.
14. You’re Loading Up On Refined Carbs
If you eat a bowl of sugary flaked cereal for breakfast, pizza for lunch, Dorritos for snacks, pasta or white rice for dinner, and cookies for dessert, your diet doesn’t have a problem, but your problem has a diet.
All of the food items mentioned above contain refined carbs and a negligible amount of dietary fiber. Consistently filling yourself up with empty calories will keep you feeling hungry throughout the day, even after you’ve just eaten.
Obesity is a health issue that is spreading globally due to the rise of the fast-food culture. Research published in the journal Obesity found that severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after eating and no longer feeling physically hungry.
MRI scans conducted on these women showed that they were still excited about the idea of eating even though they had just devoured a meal and reported feeling satiated.
16. Not Sleeping Enough
Adequate sleep is crucial for your overall health. Losing sleep is usually an early signal of detrition health. Sleeping for 6-8 hours every night is a factor in appetite control as it helps regulate ghrelin (the appetite-stimulating hormone).
A lack of sleep can lead to higher ghrelin levels. It is why you might feel hungry and irritated when you are sleep-deprived. Getting enough sleep can also help improve leptin levels in your body. Leptin is the hormone that promotes the feeling of fullness.
17. Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow
Hunger hormones take anywhere between 20-30 minutes to reach your brain. If you gulp down an entire meal in under five minutes, chances are you’ll end up overeating. Scientists believe your hunger hormones act in a relay, passing off feelings of fullness between each other before telling the brain.
It is the reason why people eat more than their pant buttons can handle when they are hungry. Gulping down a meal when you’re running late can be a time-saver, but it is not an intelligent decision. Eating is a relay race and not a sprint. The system takes some time to work, so it is best to eat slowly.
18. You Are On Medication
Health-related issues where you’re required to take medicines can be the reason why you’re always hungry. Also, being constantly hungry can be a symptom of a disease. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, depression, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome can cause a spike in your appetite.
Excessive hunger could also be a sign of a parasitic infection in your intestine due to eating undercooked meat from infected animals. You should consult a trained professional if you suspect having one of these conditions.
Contrary to what people believe, being hungry all the time doesn’t mean you are in a caloric deficit state. The growls in your belly are a sign that your body needs more food. But before you flood your stomach with excessive calories, you should know that your hunger could be more about your lifestyle choices and less about food.
Following a protein, fiber, fat-rich diet is an efficient way of staying satiated and reducing your appetite. If you are on medications and are constantly hungry, you should talk to your physician about changing your medications or adjusting your diet.