Why am I always hungry?
It’s a common question a lot of people have — and struggle with. They feel as though they’re basically healthy, they eat right, and yet those hunger pangs never cease.
Feeling hungry all the time makes it difficult to concentrate on more important things, like paying attention at meetings, finishing projects, or studying for a test. If you’re feeling excessively hungry all the time, it might be due to reasons other than not eating enough. Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why you’re inexplicably hungry all the time.
Not Enough Protein
Unless you’re literally starving to death, it’s nearly impossible to be protein deficient. However, eating meals low in protein can make you feel hungry.
Carbohydrates and fats are easily digested, but proteins aren’t. So if you find yourself feeling unsatisfied by that croissant you had for breakfast, adding an egg or yogurt to your routine may help you feel full for a longer period of time.
Too Much Sugar
When you eat foods that are filled with sugar and nothing but sugar, your body absorbs it and then there’s nothing left. Swap the cookie or candy for a piece of fruit. The fiber and water in the fruit will fill you up more.
A New Workout Routine
If you’ve recently upped your activity level — congratulations! However, your body now needs to replenish its supply of glucose (sugar) in order to function properly.
Remember in biology class you learned about the “mitochondria: the powerhouse of the cell”? Well, this special cell organelle takes sugar and turns it into energy. Always make sure to refuel after exercising. Choose a nutrient and sugar dense option, like fruit, natural juices, and smoothies.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself go hungry! This will lead to either binge eating or muscle loss in the long run.
In order to compensate for a lack of sleep, your body increases food intake. This is because sleep and appetite are closely tied within the endocrine system (this is the body system that controls hormones). There is some truth to the sleep diet, after all!
Fat is not the bad f-word that you’re supposed to avoid. Your cell membranes and nerve cells are all surrounded by fats. It’s also the macromolecule that has evolved to keep us warm and act as an energy reserve in times of trouble.
“Today, after intensive scientific research, we know that not all fat is bad and, in fact, some fats are crucial to a healthy body,” say the experts at SuperFoodsRx. “As we pay more attention to the quality of fats in our daily diets, we need to educate ourselves on the different kinds found in our food.”
When you decrease the amount of fat you’re eating, your body thinks it needs to start storing energy, so your brain turns on the hunger. A well-balanced meal contains enough proteins and good fats — like monounsaturated fat in olive oil and polyunsaturated fat in nuts and seafood — to make you feel satiated and keep you that way for a few hours.
If you’re like those kids from the movie Mean Girls who eat their emotions, watch out. Eventually, your body becomes conditioned to look for food anytime stressful situations appear.
This makes sense evolutionarily, since stress usually meant famine, back in the day. Our brain doesn’t understand the difference between “it hasn’t rained in a week and the crops are dying” versus “my boss is insane and has piled 10 projects on me”.
Instead of reaching for food for comfort, try going out for a walk or take a short 15-minute break to listen to music.
You might feel hungry when you’re dehydrated for a few reasons. One, water fills you up by both taking up space in your gastrointestinal tract and helping to maintain blood pressure. Second, people often confuse thirst for hunger. And finally, you might find yourself craving juicy foods such as watermelon, apples, oranges, and other fruits. Before reaching for a snack, try drinking some water first.
Partying Too Hard
When you overindulge on the booze, your body needs to repair the damage done by the ethanol. Between the hangover and elevated liver enzymes, your body will require more proteins and more energy, so you end up eating more.
Anyone who’s ever been deathly hungover knows that the craving for greasy, fatty food is overwhelming. Take it easy on the partying and your cravings may die down a bit too.
Too Many Sugary Drinks
It’s like we said about eating sugar. Once all that sugar from soft drinks has been absorbed, you’ll feel hungry again. Unfortunately, given the high caloric content of these drinks, eating more means increasing your daily calorie intake. This, of course, leads to weight gain.
Swap soda or juice for unsweetened, decaffeinated tea or even flavored water.
Thyroid Issues or Other Medical Conditions
Sometimes, your uncontrollable hunger has nothing to do with will power or lifestyle choice. Hormones drive our urges and cravings. And if you have an undiagnosed thyroid condition, it will make your metabolism go a bit wonky. This includes things like hyperactivity and feeling really hungry all the time. If you think this is the reason for feeling hungry all the time, consult a medical professional.