September 25, 2018

5 Reasons Why You’re Always Hungry (And How To Fix It)

By Tom Jorgenson

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.

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient compared to carbohydrates and fats. Eating more protein will help keep you more full at meals and between meals, leaving you less likely to mindlessly snack. A higher protein intake increases levels of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and peptide YY (appetite-reducing), while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (1, 2, 3, 4). Making protein part of every meal can help suppress appetite and keep you satisfied for hours.

2) You’re not sleeping enough.

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.

Slowing down and being present at meal times can help you eat less, and feel more full. A study with 30 women showed that those who ate at a faster rate, ate 10% more at meals and reported significantly less fullness compared to slow eaters. Eating slower and chewing your food thoroughly allows your body and brain more time to release the ghrelin hormone (as stated above) which will say, “Hey brain! I’m your stomach, and I’m full! You can stop feeding me now, please and thank you.”

5) You’re not eating enough fiber.

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.

Tags: Blog, Eat Well, Fit & Flavorful, health, Healthy Eating, Move, Nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness

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