On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

The 7 Reasons You're Always Hungry

Do you frequently wonder, “Why am I always hungry?” If so, there is a real reason. With a few quick fixes, you can get your body back on track from the constant hunger. Don’t let future hunger stand between you and your goals!

The 7 Reasons You're Always Hungry

Constant hunger and feeding into it can be detrimental to weight loss. If you wonder, "Why am I always hungry?" there are simple routes to defeat such a twisting health obstacle. Don't let future hunger stand between you and your goals!

What Causes Hunger?

First off, it is important to differentiate between appetite and hunger. Appetite is a mental want, desire, and craving towards a food. Unlike appetite, hunger is a physical need of food to keep the body nourished. Stomach growls may be the beginning of noticeable hunger pangs and can further lead to lightheadedness, low blood sugars, weakness, shakiness, and irritability. But why does the body sometimes feel hungry after eating? The causes of constant hunger are identified and explained!

The 7 Reasons You're Always Hungry

1. Too Many Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates are products made with and from white flour and sugar. These foods can leave the bloodstream just as fast as they are entered and absorbed, leaving the body with little energy within a short period of time. Refined carbs are also generally low in fiber. High-fiber diets filled with whole grains, fruits and veggies, and legumes can keep the gut feeling fuller for longer periods of time.

2. Not Enough Protein

Compared to carbohydrate and fat sources, protein helps to increase satiety (or fullness). Consuming protein can facilitate a reduction in calories, thus leading to weight loss. Seafood, chicken, turkey, lean beef, and some dairy products are excellent lean protein sources to keep hunger controlled without increasing total fat and calorie content.

3. Insufficient Water Intake

People often misunderstand and confuse thirst for hunger. Instead of reaching for a glass of water, food and calories gets put into its place. Although midday hunger pangs are normal, keep hydrated to minimize the thirst confusion. The average, healthy adult should consume eight cups, or 64 ounces, of water each day. Its intake can not only ensure hydration, but allows the body to optimally use energy and nutrients from foods.

4. Excessive Alcohol Intake

The general recommendation for alcohol intake is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. If consuming beyond the recommended amount, dehydration may arise. Like previously explained, inadequate hydration may be mistaken for hunger. A night out of binge drinking can also lead to poor food decisions and low blood sugars the following day, thus triggering the need and want for food to bring blood sugar back to normal.

5. Trying to Multitask

Eating should not be included in the multitasking mix. Snacking while watching TV or surfing the web is often leads to mindless eating. It typically results from boredom and may pack on a substantial amount of daily calories. Eating lunch while busily creating work emails can also halt important satiety signals. Unplug from work and social tasks during mealtimes and be more aware hunger and satiety cues.

6. Exaggerated Hormones and Imbalances

Hormones have a major impact on hunger. Cortisol, a stress hormone, can amplify hunger and lead to bouts of binge eating. Sex hormones, especially during a female's menstrual cycle and pregnancy, may lead to uncontrollable cravings. Although hormone imbalances often require the care of a physician, try stress-reduction techniques such as walking, jogging, dancing, and meditating to combat and avoid food binges.

7. Poor Sleep Habits

The need for sleep is just as critical as food, water, and oxygen and their role in life sustainment. Although the mechanism is still not 100 percent known, poor sleeping patterns effects hunger and food choices. Research has consistently shown inadequate sleep routines lead to poorer diet choices and the consumption of more calories from sugary and fat-laden food sources. Hunger also seems to be amplified with fewer hours of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep, on average, seven to nine hours each night.