It’s a common enough question: why am I hungry all the time? Many people who come to the New You 6 Week Challenge complain of frequent hunger, which makes it difficult to stick to their nutrition goals or find energy to work out.
Sometimes, frequent hunger is a simple case of not eating enough. However, more often than not, there are other biological factors at work. Here, I’ll review some of the most surprising reasons why you’re feeling hungry all the time:
You’re not eating enough. One of the most obvious reasons for feeling hungry all the time? Simply put, you’re not eating enough. Depending on different factors like your natural metabolism, body type, body fat percentage, and activity level, you may need more food than you think. Particularly if you’re embarking on the New You 6 Week Fitness Challenge, you’ll need to give your body the nutrition it needs. That’s why we include a customized nutrition plan as part of the program!
Stress. When you get stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Among its side effects, cortisol can cause increased hunger and food cravings. In this study, 59 healthy women were exposed to a stress session and a control session on different days. The results revealed that “High cortisol reactors consumed more calories on the stress day compared to low reactors, but ate similar amounts on the control day.”
Too many refined foods. Here’s the thing about sugary foods and refined carbohydrates: they are pretty much devoid of any nutrition. Since they don’t have much fiber, they lack the satiety that an unrefined carbohydrate offers. Therefore, they burn up quickly in your body, leading to a spike and then a sugar crash. When you experience that crash, your body gets a hunger cue. This leads to that “why am I hungry all the time?” sensation!
You’re not eating enough fat. Many people operate under the misconception that eating fat makes you fat. However, this is not necessarily the case. Since fat is extremely high satiety, it can actually keep you full for longer, so you may actually eat less throughout the course of the day. Low fat diets have been proven to increase cravings for carbs and sugary foods. Be sure to ingest lots of “good” fats. Read this post to learn more.
You’re not eating enough protein. Consuming enough protein is important for appetite control. According to this fascinating study, a sufficient amount of protein is vital in the diet to ensure satiety in assisting weight loss. While fat and protein are different macronutrients, they both share commonality in that they are both high satiety, which results in a reduction of overall hunger throughout the day.
You’re not paying attention. If you’re constantly eating while doing something else like driving or watching TV, you’re probably not doing your appetite or waistline any favors.
If you’re constantly distracted while eating, then you’re not enjoying or even tasting your food. Over time, you may even stop recognizing your body’s cues for fullness. This can throw your appetite out of whack and lead to a desire to eat more.
Dehydration. You might not actually be hungry! Often, feelings of thirst can be mistaken for feelings of hunger. If you’re in doubt, drink a big glass of water and wait for a few minutes to see if you still feel hungry. If you don’t, chances are you were just experiencing some mild dehydration.
Not enough sleep. Adequate sleep is vital for long term health in a variety of ways. However, when it comes to sleep and appetite, there are two key things at work. First, too little sleep leads to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone which stimulates the pituitary gland and increases appetite. Second, if you don’t have sufficient sleep, you may not be producing enough leptin, another hormone which helps promote feelings of fullness. When you have too much ghrelin and too little leptin, this adds up to additional hunger.
Conclusion: If you’re constantly wondering “why am I hungry all the time?” then your body could be crying out for something different than food. In reading through this list, hopefully you’ll gain some ideas for how to regulate your appetite and boost your overall health.
Do you feel hungry all the time?