Normally, some hours should pass before you become hungry after eating. This usually depends on the type of food and amount you eat among other factors. Some people, however, feel hungry shortly after eating.
There is nothing wrong with you becoming hungry. In fact, hunger is a feedback mechanism used by your body to signal you that it is high time you ate. After you’ve attended to that need by eating enough food, it fades away temporarily. For some people, the feelings of hunger seem to persist all the time. Despite eating enough food, they will still feel hungry, or that the urge to eat is an all-day thing. Fortunately, you can reduce hunger by making some dietary and lifestyle modifications. That being said, feeling hungry constantly, maybe an alarming sign of underlying medical condition. This article discusses reasons why you are always hungry even after eating.
1. Pattern of Eating/Dieting
Many people who follow a certain type of diet may always feel hungry. This is especially true with those following a calorie-restricted diet whoare struck by hunger all the time. A calorie-restricted diet is characterized by consumption of fewer calories than your body burns. This may cause your body to release a hormone called ghrelin. Hormone ghrelin, also referred to as hunger hormone, is usually produced by the stomach when its empty and it needs more food. Low calorie diets may increase the production of ghrelin and cause hunger, even after eating enough food.
2. High-Sugar Diet
Beverages, soft drinks, and other food products contain added sugar, and are likely to increase your appetite. Studies suggest that excess intake of sugar, more so fructose, can lead to heightened appetite. Diets characterized by high fructose intake triggers your body to produce more ghrelin, which can affect activity in certain regions of your brain making you feel less full. Recent studies also indicate that taking fructose supplements increases the rate at which your stomach empties, subjecting you to hunger shortly after eating.
3. Low-Protein Diet
Apart from maintaining muscle mass, protein is the most satiating among the macronutrients. Research has consistently shown that eating foods rich in protein can increase your feelings of fullness. One study examined the effects of a high-protein diet on people with obesity for 3 months. It was found that the participants who took breakfast high in protein felt more full during the day and took less food at lunch compared to those on low-protein breakfast. High-protein diet also increased their weight loss. The United States Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults should aim for 56 grams and 46 grams of protein per day for males and females respectively. Try eating protein alongside each meal or snack, instead of taking a large serving all at once. This will help make you feel full throughout the day.
Drinking enough water is essential for your body and is tied to a number of health benefits. Evidence suggest that proper hydration can help you feel full. For example, one study examined the effects of increased water intake among women who were overweight. The participants were asked to drink half a liter of water 30 minutes before meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – everyday. After 60 days, the participants reported to have lost weight and had reduced appetite.
5. Low-Fiber Diet
Dietary fiber plays vital roles in your body, particularly the digestive system. It improves digestion and help relieve and prevent constipation. Most importantly, dietary fiber can help control your hunger. Researchers indicate that taking fiber or fiber supplement may result in less hunger between meals. The U.S Food and Nutrition Board recommend that adult males aged 19 to 50 years should aim for 38 grams of fiber per day, while adult females in the same age category should aim for 25 grams.
6. Not Getting Enough Sleep
It appears that sleep and hunger are related. Having enough sleep every night can naturally balance your body’s hormones, including ghrelin, and lower feelings of hunger in some people. Not getting enough sleep can tell another story. In fact, research has linked it to a number of health conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Restricting your sleep can result in increased production of ghrelin and excess intake of food.
7. High-Salt Diet
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a big population in the United States consume more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day, most of which are sourced from unprocessed foods. The recommendation of daily intake of salt by the AHA is no more than 2,300 mg. All the same, adults should aim for 1,500 mg of salt per day. Foods high in salt may not only affect your heart health, but also result in increased food intake, according to research.
Some studies indicate that women are likely to gain weight when they are in menopause. This is partly true as there is marked hormonal imbalance during this period. A decline in the levels of estrogen may lead to increased appetite.
9. Certain medications
Some medications can interfere with your body’s metabolism and hunger. Certain medications like antipsychotics, antidepressants, and corticosteroids may seriously increase your hunger signals. You may need to talk with your healthcare provider if you experience weight gain with new medications.
10. Leptin Resistance
Leptin resistance is another reason you are always hungry. Leptin is a hormone that signals your brain that you are full and should stop eating. Its levels usually increase after eating. Leptin resistance is a condition characterized by poor bodily response to leptin. As a result, you will not feel full despite eating enough food. Leptin resistance is a common complication in people who are overweight or obese, and results in persistent feelings of hunger.
11. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes often presents with persistent hunger. If not treated, diabetes results in concentration of glucose in the blood instead of cells. When your cells are deprived of glucose, you will feel tired and hungry.
Persistent feelings of hunger may occur due to various reasons. You can help reduce these feelings by making dietary and lifestyle modifications like drinking more, getting enough sleep, and eating more protein and fiber.