Are you worried about your endless cravings for food? Do you always seem to be hungry no matter how much food you eat? Don’t panic, you’re not alone. Naturally, hunger is your brain’s way of telling you that your energy levels need to be pumped up. Under normal circumstances, hunger is a sign of good health and a healthy metabolism. But when you start feeling hungry all the time, so much that it drives you into snacking, then there’s something wrong. It gets worse when, if you don’t eat anything, you start having headaches, feeling uneasy and even lose concentration at work. What could be causing these episodes of increased appetite? Here are seven possible reasons why you’re hungry all the time.
1. You Aren’t Getting Enough Fiber in Your Diet
Fiber-rich foods help keep hunger at bay. High fiber foods are digested slowly and keep you feeling full for longer. But if you lack fiber in your diets, then it could explain your uncontrollable cravings. Fiber is known to control appetite hormones, reducing the urge to eat. High fiber foods are also associated with reducing constipation, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. To curb this, incorporate more fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, flaxseeds, as well as fruits and vegetables into your daily meals.
2. Your Diet Lacks Enough Protein
Protein is vital for controlling your appetite. When you eat a diet that’s full of protein, your body increases the production of fullness hormones and reduces the hormones that trigger hunger. And that’s not all. High protein foods reduce your consumption of calories during the day and boost your energy levels throughout the day. The United States’ Food and Nutrition Board recommends that an adult male should consume 56 grams of protein per day and an adult female 46 grams per day. It’s advisable to eat some protein with each meal rather than packing it all in one meal. The best protein-rich foods include eggs, nuts, fish, dairy products, and lean meats. ”
3. You Exercise Too Much
If you’re too attached to the gym and your fitness program, you may be overdoing it. People who exercise regularly burn a high number of calories compared to those who don’t. And this could be responsible for the constant feeling of hunger. Studies have shown that individuals who exercise intensely and frequently develop faster metabolisms compared to those who exercise moderately or live a sedentary lifestyle. Other studies even suggest that exercise can help suppress appetite. But exercising a lot can stimulate your appetite. Considering how important exercise is, you can’t write it off. However, you can reduce the intensity of your training to see if your hunger pangs will decline. Similarly, increase your intake of protein, fats, and fiber to fuel your workouts.
4. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Many studies have proven that alcohol has hunger-inducing effects. Alcohol inhibits appetite-reducing hormones, including leptin, especially when taken before or with your meals. In one research, men who drank more alcohol ended up taking 10 percent more calories throughout the day compared to those who drank less. Not only does alcohol affect your appetite hormones, but it also impairs your judgment and self-control. As a result, you will find yourself eating more than is necessary, without knowing it.
5. Depression and Stress
People with depression or anxiety usually develop a habit to cope with their situation. For some, they take to eating excessively. The reason behind this could be that since they are low on serotonin, the feel-good hormone, they turn to comfort foods such as bread and pasta to raise their serotonin levels. Stress is also known to trigger unusual eating habits. When your body is overly stressed, cortisol (stress hormones) flood your body, and this might drive you to eat out of necessity rather than need. Cortisol tricks your brain into thinking that you’re not full, that’s why stress can easily lead to overeating.
6. You Drink Your Calories Instead of Eating Them
With all the craze about smoothies and juices, more people can be seen sipping on some liquid stuff. But when you drink your calories instead of eating them, your body reacts differently. Here’s what happens: liquid and solid foods don’t have the same effect on your appetite. Studies show that consuming too many liquid foods like soups, meal replacements shakes, smoothies, and juices, may make you feel hungrier more often and quicker than you would if you ate solid foods. One obvious reason is that liquids are easily and readily digested than solid foods. Liquid foods are also easier to consume and you may end up taking more because it takes longer for your brain to register the fullness signals. One approach would be to reduce your smoothies and eat more solid foods instead. Alternatively, one study discovered that drinking thicker smoothies could make you feel fuller much quicker.
7. You Confuse Thirst for Hunger
According to a study published in the Journal Physiology & Behavior, 62 percent of people often mistake thirst for hunger. The journal further explains that hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating your hunger and thirst, may transmit mixed the signals, which may mislead you to eating instead of simply reaching for a glass of water. One study even suggests that taking two glasses of water before meals could lead to consuming 70 to 90 fewer calories, hence help with weight loss. You can try this today: when you feel a craving sneaking in, drink a cup of water instead and wait at least 20 minutes. If you still feel hungry, then it’s true hunger and you can get something healthy to eat.
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