Does feeling hungry all the time mean that something's wrong? Not necessarily, but there could be medical reasons for the excessive hunger some people experience. It may also be that we’re hungry “in our head,” which isn’t true, physical hunger. Here are six reasons we may be experiencing constant hunger.
One of the important properties of protein is that it reduces hunger. If we don’t eat enough protein, we may find that we’re hungry more often. When a person gets enough protein, hunger-stimulating hormones are decreased, and the hormones that contribute to feeling full are increased. People who get plenty of protein in their diets may be more likely to feel full longer and to have fewer obsessive thoughts about eating.
Burning more calories is a common reason for feeling hungry. People who work out a lot or who are training for a marathon, for example, are frequently hungry. They’re using many more calories than someone who’s mostly sedentary, so they’re going to need to fuel all that exercise. Their body may try to let them know that by increasing their feelings of hunger.
Without enough sleep, the body may crave food to sustain energy levels. The brain and immune system need rest to function properly. But sleep also affects the production and quantity of ghrelin. This hormone stimulates appetite, and without enough sleep, the body makes more of it. Even one night of sleep deprivation may lead to overeating due to feeling hungrier.
Stress eating is very real, and people under chronic stress may end up eating too frequently in an attempt to quell stress. Lowering stress by other means may make it easier to reduce our desire to reach for food in general. People who have lower levels of stress in their lives aren’t generally as hungry as people who regularly face a lot of stress.
Eating many carbohydrates may be enjoyable and taste good, but it doesn’t keep people feeling full — no matter how much it may seem so at the time. That may lead to craving even more food, which might make it difficult to control hunger properly. By reducing the amount of carbs in our diets, we may also reduce our hunger cues, and feel satisfied for a longer time.
Sometimes, people think they’re hungry when they’re just thirsty. That’s part of the reason that many medical professionals suggest drinking a glass of water about 20 minutes before eating a meal. It’s also important to drink water throughout the day to keep hydration levels up. This habit may reduce the chances of reaching for a snack and help us stop thinking about food.
It’s important to eat a healthy diet and consume enough food, but it’s also important not to overeat due to dietary problems or stressful life events. We may avoid those kinds of issues more easily when we get enough water, enough sleep, and enough suitable foods for good health and hunger suppression. We don’t have to feel hungry all the time. If the problem persists, be sure to contact a healthcare provider because certain health conditions or medications could be to blame.
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