It's been a mere hour and 32 minutes since your last meal, and you're spending more time thinking about what you’re going to eat next than you are finishing up that project due by the end of the day. You feel like you’re eating enough, but no matter what you put in your body, you always seem to leave a meal feeling hungry just a few hours later. So, what’s going on here? Consider these minor tweaks to your diet below, and you may begin to understand why you’re always hungry, and what you can do to solve the constant battle in your stomach throughout the day.
1) You’re not eating enough protein.
Sleep is a critical factor in controlling our appetite hormones; ghrelin and leptin. An adequate amount of sleep helps regulate ghrelin, which is our appetite stimulating hormone. This means that lack of sleep leads to higher ghrelin levels, resulting in more hunger and cravings, which is no good for fat loss. Furthermore, a lack of sleep decreases leptin hormone, which is the satiety hormone. This translates to you not feeling as full from your normal meals, which may result in you eating more than usual. To keep these hormones in check, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
3) You’re drinking your calories.
This one should be a no brainer. Liquids and solid foods digest differently in the body. Smoothies, shakes, sodas, and your favorite Starbucks order pass through the stomach more rapidly than solid foods, leaving you hungrier sooner than you would be if you ate a solid meal. To prevent constant hunger, try swapping out your liquid calories for some whole foods like lean protein, fruits and/or veggies.
4) You’re eating too fast.
High-fiber foods could be the missing piece to keeping your appetite under control. High-fiber foods that are also high in volume (vegetables, such as leafy greens, potatoes, squash, fruits, and even popcorn) will fill up the stomach activating “stretch” receptors. These receptors send signals to the brain to indicate a satisfying amount of food has been eaten. High-fiber foods also slow the stomach's emptying rate and take longer to digest compared to low-fiber foods, keeping you fuller for longer.
If you find yourself constantly hungry, implementing these tips above can surely help solve this annoying and uncomfortable feeling. Give these tips a try, and you’ll be less likely to reach for those snacks between meals.