Do you feel hungry all the time? Can’t seem to get enough? There’s a reason or two for that…
And, of course, there are emotional factors as well, such as stress.
If you’re one of those people always thinking about food, this may seem like a natural thing to you.
However, thinking about food constantly because you’re hungry may hint at a bigger medical issue.
Take a look at some of the reasons for the question “Do you feel hungry all the time?”
- Not drinking enough fluids, or missing important electrolytes in your body indicates moderate to mild dehydration.
The easiest way to check if you’re dehydrated is to look at the color of your urine.
➡ Clear to light yellow is a fully hydrated person.
➡ Moderate to dark yellow means you definitely need to drink more water.
➡ If your urine is orange or dark brown, you should seek immediate medical attention because this is a symptom of extreme dehydration.
Mild dehydration often feels like hunger, when all your body really needs is fluids.
- Our brain mistakes our thirst for hunger since both are controlled by the same part of the brain, the hypothalamus.
A study carried out by the Journal of Physiology & Behavior found that we mistake our thirst for hunger 60% of the time.
Remember that water is crucial for carrying nutrients to where they need to go. Lack of water means lack of nutrients, which makes our body think it’s running low on fuel and give us “hunger pangs.”
Read our article on Dehydration by clicking the link at the bottom of this page to learn more.
If you’re constantly hungry and eating more than usual, but are still losing weight, you could have an overactive thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid speeds up everything the body does.
This means that all of your metabolic processes will run faster than they normally would.
- Insatiable hunger is a big clue.
➡ If, in addition to increased hunger, you are also feeling moody, fatigued, are experiencing hair loss and/or brittle nails, this may also indicate hyperthyroidism.
It will be important for you to see your physician and have thyroid function tests done to pinpoint the problem.
Your Other Hormones Are Out Of Whack
- Conditions like prediabetes and diabetes, hypoglycemia, and other insulin and glucose-related issues may be affecting hunger spikes.
Sometimes hunger hormone responses can be controlled through specialized diets. If your hunger is caused by a high-refined carbohydrate diet, for instance, a nutritionist may recommend that you reduce your carbohydrate intake.
- In fact, eating refined carbs such as those made with white starches and sugar is known to cause out of control cravings and an erratic appetite.
Reducing carbohydrates has an effect on the insulin output and uptake in your metabolism.
Never underestimate the function of your hormones They are responsible for handling too many things in your body to be ignored.
You Skip Meals
Listen, and listen well:
If you skip meals in an effort to burn off some fat, you are making a mistake.
- When you skip a meal, your body goes into “storage” mode and locks down on the fat cells in case there’s an episode of starvation going around.
Really! That is exactly what happens…
Your body hangs on to the sugar, the fat, etc. like a hoarder, making it almost impossible for you to burn it off later, even with exercise.
In the same way, the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin affect your hunger.
➡ Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite.
➡ Ghrelin, the hormone that increases appetite, is released primarily in the stomach and is thought to signal hunger to the brain.
- It plays a big role in body weight by going into overdrive when you leave your stomach without food for a long time, making you overeat – or eat the unhealthy, quick shot-in-the-arm foods, in order to satisfy.
A good rule of thumb is to never go without food for more than 4 or 5 hours and to choose only healthy snacks.
You’re Not Sleeping
Hormones like Cortisol, which is produced when you’re under stress, relate directly to your sleep cycle. In addition, sleep affecting hormones can cause you to have a larger appetite.
- Sometimes, craving high fat and high-calorie foods are symptoms of being overtired.
- Along with craving foods that are bad for you, you may notice a change in mood, clumsiness, difficulty focusing and weight gain.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you’re probably not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Read the article listed at the bottom of the page to learn more about this.
Once you start getting enough sleep, you should see an immediate decrease in the stress responses due to lack of sleep.
When you don’t use your five senses while eating, you’re likely to eat more than those who pay attention to their food.
- Even listening to the crunching of your food registers with your brain on some level, allowing for the hormone leptin, which is responsible for the sense of being full, to start working after nearly 20 minutes of eating.
But if you’re distracted watching TV, or playing on your phone, or working on your laptop, your brain doesn’t register that you’re eating and you end up eating almost 40% more than you should. Really! This is a fact.
- Take your time and practice mindful eating.
Our busy lives dictate that we do everything in a rush. We rarely have time to think and reflect, let alone take our time eating.
- You should spend around 20-25 minutes during each meal, because the hormone Leptin starts kicking in after about 20 minutes, giving you the feeling that you’ve had enough to eat.
Studies show that those who eat quickly consume 60% more calories than those who take their time with their food.
Too Many Carbs
- And, since insulin moves fast, it will take away the sugar quickly, leaving you with a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
This triggers hunger pangs and out of control cravings.
➡ Steer clear of refined carbs, including sugar, white bread, rice, and pasta.
➡ Opt for whole grains and eat a clean diet filled with whole food, which will also improve digestion and boost your metabolism.
Usually, when we’re stressed, we lose our appetite.
- It’s just temporary, however, because prolonged stress increases the release of the hormone cortisol, which triggers our sense of hunger.
What’s more, that cortisol takes out lipids (fatty acids) from our bloodstream and stores them in fat cells, adding on the pounds, thus increasing stress levels even more.
Not Enough Protein
Lean protein (emphasis on LEAN) takes some time to fully digest, which means you feel full longer.
- What’s more, lean protein provides your body with an appetite-suppressing effect.
Protein comes in many forms, such as eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. However, there are also other sources of protein, which you can eat any time of the day, such as quinoa, hummus, and peanut butter.
Some medications could be increasing your appetite.
- The scientific explanation is that any type of medication you ingest is a chemical, which goes into your body and can create a discrepancy in your body’s natural chemical balance.
So, here we are.
While there is not one single, for sure answer to “do you feel hungry all the time?” if you are always hungry, these are the top contenders for chronic hunger symptoms.
- The best thing you can do is start by drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. If you’re doing both of these and are still chronically hungry, you may have a problem that needs to be addressed by your physician.
If your blood work indicates normal hormone levels, your hunger may be psychological appetite rather than real hunger.
Learning to control your appetite can be done through support groups like overeaters anonymous and through mindful eating techniques. (stay tuned for upcoming articles on mindful eating).
Learning how to control your hunger in the absence of physical causes will help you succeed.