10 Reasons Why You’re Always Hungry
Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt. It’s driven by a mix of factors, including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors, such as stress.
If you’re one of those people who is always hungry and thinking about food, this may seem like a natural thing to you.
However, thinking about food constantly because you’re hungry may show a bigger medical issue.
Why Are You Always Hungry?
There are several conditions or issues that cause constant and ongoing feelings of starvation, and this is something you should definitely investigate with your doctor. Here are 10 common problems that could be the reason why you’re always hungry.
Many times people have dehydration when they are experiencing hunger symptoms. The truth is that with chronic dehydration the symptom for thirst is often misunderstood. Water is crucial for carrying nutrients to where they need to go, and lack of water means lack of nutrients, which makes our body think it’s running low on fuel and strikes up ‘hunger pangs.’ If you’re always hungry and not drinking enough fluids it could mean that you’re actually suffering from moderate to mild dehydration.
The easiest way to check if you’re dehydrated is to look at the color of your urine. Cleared 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.
If you’re eating more than usual, constantly hungry and still losing weight, then you could have a problem with your thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid speeds up everything the body does. This means all of your metabolic processes will run faster than they normally would. As a result, you will find yourself with an insatiable hunger. Having tests run by a doctor for thyroid function is the only way to be sure that you do not suffer from this medical condition.
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3. Your Hormones Are Off
Besides hyperthyroidism, several hormonal conditions can affect your metabolic function. Women’s Health Magazine points to conditions like prediabetes and diabetes, hypoglycemia, and other insulin and glucose related issues as the main sources of hunger spikes.
4. You Skip Meals
If you skip meals in an effort to burn off some fat, you’re 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 a bout of starvation going around. A rule of thumb is not to go without food for more than 4 or 5 hours, and opt for healthy snacks.
5. You’re Not Sleeping
Sleep is one of the biggest regulators of hormones. Hormones such as those produced during stress (cortisol) relate directly to your sleep cycle. In addition, sleep affecting hormones it can also cause you to have a larger appetite. WebMD notes that 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.
6. You Rush Your Meals
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. Studies show that those who eat quickly consume 60% more calories than those who take their time with their food.
7. Too Many Carbs
Eating a meal full of carbohydrates means you’re flooding your bloodstream with sugars, especially glucose, which then alerts insulin to be released in huge amounts to take in all that glucose. 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 breads, rice, and pasta. Opt for whole grains and eat a clean diet filled with whole food, which will also improve digestion and boost metabolism.
8. You’re Stressed Out
Usually when we’re stressed, we lose our appetite. However, that’s only temporary, because prolonged stress increases the release of the hormone cortisol, which triggers our sense of hunger. What’s more is that cortisol takes out lipids from our bloodstream and stores them in fat cells. This adds on the pounds, thus increasing stress levels even more.
9. Not Enough Protein
Lean protein takes some time to fully digest, which means you feel full longer. What’s more is that 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 consume 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.
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While there is no one definite answer as to why you are always hungry, these points above are the top contenders for chronic hunger symptoms. If all of your blood work shows normal hormone levels, your hunger may be a psychological appetite rather than real hunger.
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