Do You Feel Hungry All the Time?

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You may feel hungry frequently if your diet lacks protein, fiber or fat, all of which have properties that promote fullness and reduce appetite. Extreme hunger is also a sign of inadequate sleep and chronic stress. 

The autonomic nervous (ANS) system consists of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). While the SNS controls the body’s response to threats (e.g., the “fight-or-flight” response), the PNS is the body’s counterbalance and returns the body back to a state of calm.

Our bodies want and need to spend some time in “rest and digest” mode for the ANS and SNS to function properly. During this time, blood pressure lowers, heart rate decreases and gastrointestinal peristalsis increases so you can absorb and digest nutrients and produce energy stores for the future.

As a result, you shouldn’t feel the need to eat around the clock. Many people feel their best when eating smaller meals more often. However, if you find yourself feeling hungry all the time it could be due to one of the following reasons:

1. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

We need all of the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) for different reasons, and not all calories will have the same impact on satiety. While carbohydrates are great for providing quick energy, protein, fat and fiber are important for sustaining that energy. A study published in Nutrition Journal found high-protein snacks led to reduced hunger and kept participants satiated for longer. It is generally regarded that foods high in protein and fiber are most effective at generating satiety due to the breakdown and release of nutrients from these foods.

2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough

Sleep deprivation is known to cause fluctuations in your hunger hormone levels and may leave you feeling hungry more frequently.

Getting enough sleep also helps ensure adequate levels of leptin, which is a hormone that promotes feelings of fullness.

To keep your hunger levels under control, it is generally recommended to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

3. You’re Eating Too Many Refined Carbs

Refined carbs lack fiber and cause blood sugar fluctuations, which are the primary reasons why eating too many of them may leave you feeling hungry.

Refined carbs lack fiber and cause blood sugar fluctuations, which are the primary reasons why eating too many of them may leave you feeling hungry.

4. You’re Distracted While Eating

Given hectic schedules, you might find you’re eating while walking, driving or scrolling on your phone. However, if all of your meals are rushed, the body has a harder time recognizing fullness. In a study comparing distracted eaters to non-distracted ones, the non-distracted participants reported a reduction in their desire to finish their entire plate of food. In contrast, distracted participants maintained a desire to eat everything on their plate, which may be a contributing factor to overeating. Not only can mindful eating help you feel satiated, but it has also been linked to reduced food cravings and emotional eating.

5. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

You may always be hungry if you’re not drinking enough water. That’s because it has appetite-reducing properties. Additionally, it is possible that you are mistaking feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger.

Feelings of thirst can be mistaken for feelings of hunger. If you’re always hungry, it may be helpful to drink a glass or two of water to find out if you are just thirsty.

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