Do you ever feel that gluttony has got the best of you? No matter how much you eat, do you end up rummaging your fridge right after? It does get difficult when food is the only thing on your mind and when satiety seems like a far-fetched dream. When you are hungry, eating is supposed to be the solution, but you may be one of those people for whom eating is only a temporary relief. There can be multiple reasons for your problem.
Why Are You Hungry Even After Eating?
Many times the reasons why you are hungry all the time need not be complicated. Your day-to-day activities or habits could be affecting your body’s ability to feel satiated. Here are some questions that will help you understand why you feel hungry even after eating. The answer may be staring you right in the face.
1. Are You Confusing Thirst With Hunger?
One of the first things you should ask yourself whenever you feel hungry is, “Am I hungry or dehydrated?” Though thirst is a cue for your dehydrated body to drink more fluid and not food, there is a thin line and it gets difficult for your body to distinguish between them.1Dehydration may mimic the symptoms of hunger and cause you to eat more. Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 tall glasses of water throughout the day, so that you know what you are feeling is actually hunger.
2. Are You Getting Enough Fiber?
The ability to feel full greatly depends on what you eat. Do white rice, white pasta, sweets, cookies, chips, and desserts make up a large portion of what you eat? If the answer is yes, then this may explain your hunger even after you eat. These “junk” foods are digested quickly in your system because they lack fiber, which is a very important dietary material found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and wheat products. It gets digested slowly and keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.2 By making some healthy adjustments to your diet, you will feel more satiated after you eat.
3. Are You Eating Foods That Raise Triglycerides?
You will have a hard time feeling full after you eat if your body has a high amount of triglycerides. Triglycerides induce leptin resistance by impairing the transport of leptin across the blood-brain barrier due to which your brain will not be able to register satiety effectively.3 Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice, candy, and pastries are known to increase your triglyceride levels. Cutting back on such foods and replacing them with healthy fruits and vegetables prevent you from feeling hungry soon after you eat.
4. Are You Including Enough Proteins And Healthy Fats?
You will feel hungry very quickly if you consume more simple carbohydrates than proteins or healthy fats. Proteins and fats are more complex than carbohydrates, which means that they take a longer time to get digested. So, when food stays in your stomach for a longer period of time, you will not feel too hungry after you eat.5
5. Do You Need A Can Opener To Have Your Meals?
You may feel hungry after you eat if your meals come from cans. The insides of cans are lined with epoxy resins which are made from a chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA).6 It is known to interfere with hormonal control of hunger, leaving you abnormally hungry all the time. Try switching to fresh foods, which are much healthier, any given day.
6. Are You Getting Enough Leafy Greens In Your Diet?
When it comes to favorite food choices, leafy greens do not usually top the charts. It’s always more desirable to skip the salad and head straight for dessert, but it might be the reason why you feel hungry soon after. Leafy greens are rich in vitamin K that helps improve your insulin sensitivity.8 Insulin allows your cells to take up glucose from the blood to use as energy, but if your body is less sensitive to insulin, you will feel like eating even if you are not really hungry.
7. Is Soda Your Go-To Drink?
If you are someone who loves soda and cannot go through a meal without one, then it may be the reason why you are hungry even if you have had a standard meal. Soda or any other sugary beverage is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The intake of fructose increases the level of ghrelin, a hormone that is responsible for making you hungry, and decreases the activity of the satiety centers of your brain.9 Since the drinks are carbonated, all that gas in your stomach may give you the impression of being satiated, and you end up feeling hungry again once the gas leaves your system. So cut back on the soda and switch to healthier drinks, such as fruit and vegetable juices or water.
8. Are You Eating Way Too Fast?
Sit back and think for a while. How quickly do you eat? Do you gobble up food as soon as it lands on your plate or do you take forever to finish? Your body needs at least 20 minutes to signal the brain that it is full. When you eat too quickly, your brain will process that you are not eating enough, leaving you wanting more. Taking smaller bites and chewing your food properly will keep your appetite in control.
9. Are You Eating Enough For Breakfast?
Eating a small breakfast or having sugary cereals to start your day may cause you to feel hungry soon after. Sugary foods cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike soon after you eat them and when the levels drop after a while, you will feel hungry. The same thing goes for small, low-calorie breakfasts. Eating a high-calorie breakfast ensures that your blood sugar and insulin levels to be more stable throughout the day, causing you to have fewer food cravings.
10. Are You Skipping Tea?
Even if you are not much of a “tea” person, it will be beneficial for you to start drinking tea after a meal. Green tea lowers your blood sugar levels after you’ve had a meal because of the phytochemicals present in it. This causes you to stay full longer than you normally do.1314
11. Are You Pregnant?
When you are pregnant, it’s natural to feel hungry more often than usual, especially during the second and third trimesters. During pregnancy, your metabolism increases to account for the physiological changes needed to nurture the little one growing in your womb.15 You should eat more, but the food should be rich in nutrients and fiber.16
12. Did You Lose A Lot Of Weight Recently?
When you maintain your diet and hit the gym regularly, you are sure to lose quite a bit of weight. The more weight you lose, the more your appetite increases to counteract the loss of weight. Since your body is changing, it will have different nutritional requirements. You should reconsider your diet plan as your meals may be too small to provide your body with enough calories required for its daily functions.
13. Are Your Emotions Getting The Best Of You?
You should analyze whether you are really hungry or are bored, stressed, sad, or angry. People tend to eat when emotional even if they are not hungry, but they misconstrue it as hunger. Try to keep yourself busy or meditate to calm your mind. You should find other ways to cope with your emotions rather than eating.
Medical Reasons Why You Are Hungry Even After Eating
If you have answered “no” to all the above questions, then there may be something wrong with your body. You need to visit the doctor and get checked for conditions that may prevent you from feeling full. Your appetite may be affected due to the following reasons.
1. You Have A Resistance To Leptin
When you eat food, it is the role of your hormones known as leptin to make you feel full until it’s time for your next meal. If you are overweight or obese, your body develops a resistance to leptin, which prevents your brain from registering that you are satiated even after you eat.
2. You Are Diabetic
If you have not got yourself tested for diabetes, then maybe you should. Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood glucose levels and gives you the feeling of satiety. If you are diabetic, your body will not produce enough insulin or it may be resistant to it. Getting the opinion of a medical professional will help you confirm if diabetes is the reason for your constant hunger.
3. You Have Thyroid Problems
The thyroid produces thyroid hormones which play an important role in regulating your metabolism and appetite through several pathways. If you have a problem with your thyroid gland, the regulation of your appetite may be affected, which could be a reason for your abnormal hunger.
4. Your Medications Affect Your Appetite
If you are under medication for any condition, then the excessive increase in appetite may be due to the side effects of the medicines like antipsychotics, antidepressants, corticosteroids, diabetes medications, antihistamines, antihypertensives, and seizures or mood stabilizers. You should talk to your doctor and let them know about your increase in appetite or your inability to feel full even after eating so that they can work something out for you.
5. You Have Beef Or Pork Tapeworms
An infection by parasites will generally cause you to lose your appetite, but beef or pork tapeworms have the opposite effect. You can check for the larvae in your stool, which look like white grains of rice, or you can visit the doctor just to be sure.
If you experience unexplained weight loss along with your uncontrollable hunger, you should waste no time in getting in touch with your doctor and getting it diagnosed. It always helps to know how simple or complicated your problem is and to get it treated on time. A medical professional will be able to give you personalized advice to help you overcome whatever health issues you are facing.