You've just eaten, but you're still rummaging around the pantry and standing in front of your refrigerator trying to find the perfect snack. Your hunger pangs never seem to stop plaguing you. You can't remember the last time you finished a meal and felt full until it was time for the next one. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, there's probably an underlying reason!
We all know hunger is a symptom of something, but what are the underlying reasons for your constant cravings? Some underlying factors may lead to sugar and carb cravings, while other feelings of hunger may not be satiated by eating at all. Understanding the cause of your hunger is as important as what to do to address it.
Read on to find out some of the reasons you may be hungry all the time and what you can do about it.
The hunger you feel could be a symptom of something else. This is why it's essential to understand what factors may lead to this constant desire or need for food—so you can learn how best to address it.
The first thing you should do is understand the role ghrelin plays in how your brain registers hunger. Ghrelin is a hormone produced in your stomach that increases your appetite. When your stomach is empty, it makes more ghrelin, and your blood sugar level drops. The levels of ghrelin in your blood are usually highest before you eat, and begin to reduce once food has been consumed. Ghrelin is also a factor in insulin release. Another important hormone to know about is leptin, this is released in an attempt to tell our brains that we are full.
Once you understand how your body registers and regulates hunger, you can start to think about why you're hungry all the time. This way you can address and control the issue. To help you out, here are a few reasons why someone may often feel hungry.
Sleep is a crucial part of maintaining good health. It is necessary for your brain function, immune health, and appetite control. Sleep also impacts ghrelin, the hunger-inducing hormone mentioned above. Sleep deprivation causes higher ghrelin levels, so you might feel hungrier when you are tired. Your body may also lead you to believe you're hungry because it feels like it doesn't have enough fuel to "run" properly. Getting enough sleep ensures that you're maintaining adequate levels of leptin, the hormone that promotes feelings of fullness.
Foods high in sugar or starchy carbs can spike blood sugar levels and lead to a crash, resulting in hunger again soon after. This can make you feel hungry all the time.
Your body requires carbs, fiber, and protein to fuel itself. This is why it is essential to balance your meals with a combination of the three. If you're not getting enough of what your body needs to feel satiated, like protein, you run the risk of feeling unsatisfied and possibly hungry even after eating.
Exercise is a great way to control your blood sugar and lose weight, but it also burns through the food you consume much quicker than when you are sedentary. When you exercise, you're boosting your metabolism. So, you may feel hungry all the time if you aren't balancing your diet correctly alongside this.
When you're stressed, your body releases cortisol, which may cause cravings for sugary or fatty foods. Stress can cause your body to crave foods like sugars, processed carbs and fats to boost that fuel and serotonin. Other symptoms of stress to watch out for are headaches, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, and an uneasy stomach.
Some medicines may cause you to eat more than usual. If you've put on weight since beginning treatment, it might be a side effect of the medication. Consult with your doctor to see if any alternative medications will assist you.
Experiencing hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, low and high blood sugar can cause constant hunger. People with diabetes often experience this. But even if you don't have diabetes, you could experience hunger due to poor blood sugar regulation.
Do you often eat meals in front of the television? You may want to consider how that can affect your hunger levels. Environmental distractions can distract you from your food, and you can eat too much or too little in a sitting. If you ignore your food, your brain may not be processing what you are feeding yourself and demand more sustenance shortly after a meal.
Your body may have difficulty regulating hunger when you are not adequately hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid caffeine, which contributes to dehydration.
Your thyroid is a gland located in the front of your neck. This gland controls the production of the hormones that control your metabolism. These hormones are also responsible for ensuring that your organs are functioning correctly. If you have hyperthyroidism, dysregulation of some thyroid hormones may result in a constant feeling of hunger.
To learn more about why you're constantly hungry, it's helpful to have data to compare to what your body is feeling. Using a tool like a CGM can help you understand what foods your body responds best to and what simply causes brief blood sugar spikes. As you begin to see patterns in your food consumption and food cravings, you may be able to make the necessary changes.
Sign up for one of the programs at NutriSense to track the data from your sensor in an innovative app. There's also a team of registered dietitians to help you understand your data and guide you along your health journey. Remember, everyone's body is different, so working with a professional may help you optimize your health to unlock a healthier, happier, satiated you.
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