Weekly Blog 4: Why am I always hungry?
Many people often complain about feeling hungry too frequently throughout the day. The feeling of hunger can be caused by a multitude of both physiological and environment reasons and factors. Here a few reasons why you may note feel satisfied after meals and snacks which could contribute to low energy, brain fog and change in mood!
1. Not enough protein and Complex Carbs! Your current diet indicates whether you are consuming the right kinds of foods that encourage the feeling of fullness. Eating protein increases the production of hormones that stimulate fullness and reducing the hormones that signal hunger. Consequently, refined carbohydrates are digested by the body very quickly and raises blood sugar levels which stimulate your body’s need for more food. Replaced refined carbs with whole foods that are rich in fiber such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to keep hunger under control! (Note: Refined carbohydrates do have a place in a lifestyle! I always encourage clients to incorporate simple carbohydrates as all foods should be included in our diet because food should be fun! Following the 80/20 rule is a good guide!)
2. Not getting enough sleep. Getting proper rest is very important for the regulation of hormones that stimulate and inhibit your appetite such as ghrelin and lectin, respectively. Less sleep is associated with a higher production rate of ghrelin while more sleep is increases the production of lectin. An adequate 8 hours of sleep per night should reduce feelings of hunger throughout the day!
3. Higher stress levels. High anxiety or tenseness releases a hormone called cortisol which can lead to an increase in feelings of hunger. A person under a lot of stress could have heightened cravings for more sugary or fatty foods and binge eat in hopes of stress alleviation. Maintaining a healthy diet and sleep cycle, exercising, and the uptake of relaxation techniques are just a few of many positive and natural ways of controlling cortisol levels!
4. Dehydration. Although proper hydration is extremely beneficial for your overall health, Feelings of thirst are often mistaken for feelings of hunger. It may be helpful to drink water when you are feeling hungry after a meal that would typically be satisfying and packed with protein, vegetables and whole grains. (Note: Water shouldn’t be used as a way to mask our hunger or for a way to skip meals for weight loss as overhydration can become an issue as well!)
5. Your diet lacks fiber. Fiber slows digestion in the body and elongates feelings of fullness after a meal. Furthermore, fiber releases hormones that are appetite-reducing and promote feelings of satiation. If you are feeling hungry too often, consume more fibrous foods such as whole grains, plant-based foods, fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes to curb your appetite!
-Blog written by Nicole Iorio (nutrition intern)
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