Even if you just ate a meal, you can still feel hungry soon afterwards. Although an uptick in appetite is common after a big workout or during pregnancy, it might be worth understanding why you might be feeling constant hunger throughout the day. Read about six hidden causes of hunger that might be affecting you:
- Not Getting Enough Sleep. Among many other side effects, sleep deprivation disrupts the production of the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.
- Dehydration. With hunger and thirst both regulated in the same part of the hypothalamus, mild dehydration can trick your brain into thinking its hungry. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 to 20 minutes to see if you're still hungry. A sparkling version or club soda may provide even greater satisfaction and less hunger.
- Stress. When the body is under stress, the system increases production of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. With the system thinking it is under attack and in need of energy, your appetite kicks into overdrive. Manage your stress with alternative methods like meditation to prevent feeling unnecessary hunger.
- Eating Too Fast. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that you're full. Remind yourself to eat slowly and savor the food you are eating, allowing your brain time to register fullness.
- Eating Too Many Refined Carbs. Rapidly converted into blood sugar, refined carbs cause corresponding rises and falls in insulin levels, which can lead to feelings of extreme hunger for more sugary carbs. Instead of giving up all carbs, opt for minimally processed carbs such as whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and fruits.
- Not Getting Enough Fat Or Protein. Unsaturated fat (such as the fats in avocados, olive oil, and nuts) and protein can help you feel fuller, longer. Refer to my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid for suggested serving amounts for healthy fats and protein.