Why Am I Always Hungry?
Hunger is complicated. It’s not just about the physical sensation of emptiness in your stomach, but also an emotional feeling that you need to eat. Hunger is regulated by two hormones – ghrelin, which signals to our brain that we need to eat, and leptin, which tells us we are full and satisfied.
While hunger is our body’s natural, healthy signal that we need to eat, if we are constantly feeling hungry there might be something else at play. Here are the top three reasons you may feel like you are always reaching for more food.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Poor sleep is strongly linked to hormone imbalances, specifically our hunger hormones that control our feelings of satiation and desire for food.
Experts believe a chronic lack of sleep leads to something called ‘leptin resistance’, where our body does not produce enough of leptin, the fullness hormone, ultimately messing with our natural hunger cues.
In addition, when we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to gravitate towards certain types of foods, usually those that give a rush of energy. These foods are more likely to be simple carbohydrates or higher in sugar or fat.
If you’re interested in perfecting your sleep routine, check out our blog [here].
You’re missing out on protein
If you want to feel satiated, gain energy and build strength, get ready to pack in the protein! Protein not only reduces levels of ghrelin (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) but also increases the levels of peptide YY, a gut hormone that makes us feel full.
According to the Nutrient Reference Values, the average adult needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, however, new research suggests that as we get older, our protein intakes should increase to prevent muscle loss.
If you’re not interested in tracking every single macronutrient, just make sure you are getting at least a fistful of protein in most meals. The best sources come from eggs, lean beef, chicken, pork, fish, seafood, beans and dairy. If you are meat and dairy-free, look for foods such as lentils, tofu, beans and chickpeas!
You’re choosing high Glycemic Carbs over low GI Carbs
A well-balanced diet is key to feeling satiated throughout the day and the perfect trifecta is lean protein, healthy fats, and wholegrain carbs. Carbohydrates fuel our bodies, however, some carbohydrates are better at fuelling our bodies for longer.
The sugar in High GI foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and pastries, gets absorbed into our bloodstream quickly, leading to a spike in our insulin response followed by a steep drop in blood sugar. This is why these foods won’t keep us satisfied for long and often leave us feeling hungry soon after.
The sugar in Low GI carbohydrates such as legumes, wholegrains and vegetables absorb more slowly into our bloodstream, giving us a steady source of energy and keeps us full for longer periods of time. Research also shows that low GI meals also increase gut hormone production, leading to the suppression of appetite and increasing feelings of satiety.
We all have times where we feel hungrier than usual, but a body that is constantly crying out for fuel could be trying to tell you something. If this is happening to you, make sure to take some time to look inward to consider whether the above reasons could be causing you to reach for that second, third or even fourth biscuit.