7 Reasons You’re Always Hungry
Suffering from uncontrollable hunger and not sure what the root cause maybe? Hunger can be the result of many reasons, from your diet, to the amount of sleep you get to what you eat for breakfast! Here are 7 reasons you may not be aware of but could be not only making you hungry but also preventing you from losing weight.
- You Don’t Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet by helping stabilize blood glucose levels, and helping remove toxins from the body, including excess levels of estrogen. When fiber is low blood glucose levels can spike resulting in sugar crashes, low energy levels and hunger. Eating a high fiber diet can reduce glycemic index of other foods, delay digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, and enhance satiety. The recommended dietary intake for females is 25 g/day. Choose a diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains.
- Your Diet Lacks Sufficient Protein
A low protein diet can lead to hunger! Protein can be considered satiating and satisfying. Research has shown that when subjects were allowed to eat as much as they want, higher protein diets were found to be more satiating than diets that had higher ratios of carbohydrates or fats with the same calories. In addition to the reduction in hunger, high protein diets are also more thermogenic than other diets, helping increase metabolic rate, not to mention support a lean and trim body. Aim to get about 1 g of protein per pound of body weight, or about 40% of your daily calories from protein. Choose from lean red meat, poultry, non-fat dairy, egg whites, or whey protein powder. For best results, spread your protein throughout the day over five to six meals.
- You Don’t Eat Frequently Enough
At one time eating frequently was thought to result in a faster metabolism, this is not true, but there is some benefit to eating more frequently. Eating multiple times per day can result in better blood glucose stabilization throughout the day, which can reduce significant dips in blood sugar levels and subsequently reduce hunger and overeating throughout the day. It has been shown that those who eat less frequently have greater hunger than those who eat more frequently – greater than 3 times per day. Aim for eating about 5 mini meals per day to help maintain energy levels, and keep hunger subsided.
- You’re Premenstrual
Your hormones can have a direct effect on your cravings and your body’s ability to burn fat, particularly if you’re premenstrual. Estrogen, progesterone, serotonin and cortisol all seem to play a role in moderating a woman’s energy expenditure and regulating appetite. Many studies have shown that during PMS and the Menstrual Cycle many women not only experience increased food consumption but also an increase in carbohydrate consumption. Fluctuations in hormones – particularly a reduction in serotonin can result in an increase in hunger and cravings. Controlling your appetite during PMS may seem difficult but can be achieved by continuing to stick to a well balanced diet, and following an exercise program that can help increase the release of feel good endorphins, but also reduce appetite!
- You’re Stressed Out
While it is true that stress can cause the release of hormones that suppress appetite, including epinephrine, once the stress is reduced, epinephrine levels fall. Hormones that stimulate hunger, cravings and eating can make an appearance! This can trigger appetite; what’s more this action has also been shown to stimulate cravings for specific foods including those that are higher in sugar and higher in fat. Reduce stress, don’t sweat the small stuff and consider taking up activities such as Yoga and Meditation.
- You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Getting insufficient sleep has been shown to increase cravings, hunger and also increase weight! Chronic sleep loss can reduce the body’s ability to regulate hormones and process carbohydrates, which can cause overeating, particularly of high sugar foods. Sleep a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night, this will ensure a proper recovery and balanced hormone levels.
- You Skipped Breakfast
Breakfast helps break the fast from your sleep, and in turn helps set the tone for the day, stimulating metabolism and reducing hunger later on. A recent study showed that eating a high protein breakfast reduces cravings and food in take later in the day, particularly for fatty and sugary foods. For best results, eat a breakfast that is also high in complex fibrous carbs. Try protein pancakes, mix whey protein with oatmeal and egg whites and cook in a non-stick pan. Serve with berries and a spoonful of non-fat Greek yogurt.
Until Next Time,
Be Fierce & Rule the World,
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Dye L, et al. Menstrual cycle and appetite control: implications for weight regulation. Human Reproduction. 1997. 12(6): 1142-51.
Fujii H, et al. Impact of dietary fiber intake on glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors and chronic kidney disease in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: the fukuoka diabetes registry. Nutrition Journal. 2013. 12: 159.
Leidy HJ, et al. The effect of eating frequency on appetite control and food intake: a brief synopsis of controlled feeding studies. J Nutr. 2011. 141(1): 154-7.