Why Am I Always Hungry?

Constant feelings of hunger can throw you off your weight loss plan. Why am I always hungry? It seems like you never feel full enough to stop thinking of food or eating. This can be frustrating, especially if you want to achieve a certain weight goal. The first step to managing your weight control is to understand the reasons for your constant hunger and what you can do to beat it.

Why Am I Always Hungry?

1. Fast Metabolism

Some people burn more calories in a small amount of time. According to one study, more that 30% of the general population have fast metabolism which allows them to burn up to 400 more calories per day than most people do. If your metabolism is fast, you will tend to feel hungry all the time.

2. Processed Foods

You are probably eating a lot of processed or refined foods like cookies, white bread, or salad dressings that cause your blood sugar levels to increase within short periods of time. These can make you feel hungrier than you were before eating. Research shows that foods that are high in fat and sugar interfere with the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, leading to depression, anxiety and and overeating. Experts believe that refined sugar is the most common cause of increased appetite throughout the day.

3. Hormonal Problems

Hormonal changes associated with menstrual periods (PMS), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and diabetes are common causes of constant hunger. When your thyroid hormone levels are too high, you burn calories faster. Meanwhile, hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar levels) associated with diabetes can also cause hunger spikes. If you have any of these hormonal imbalances, you need to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

4. Dehydration

Dehydration can trick your brain into thinking that you are hungry. Why am I always hungry? If you work out hard and do not take enough water, your body may think it is hungry, when it just actually needs to rehydrate. So the next time you feel hungry, try drinking some water and wait for several minutes to see if you’re really hungry. This is also a good practice early in the morning to quench your thirst from several hours of fasting.

5. Sleep Deprivation

Poor sleep can make you feel hungrier because of the effects of two hormones. First, it increases your ghrelin levels which stimulate your appetite. Second, it reduces your leptin levels which cause you to feel less full. If you are always deprived of sleep, you are most likely to feel hungry all the time.

6. Persistent Stress

Constant stress causes your body to produce stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline which tend to increase appetite. On the other hand, stress also reduces your serotonin levels, which tells your body to eat more. To avoid stress eating, practice relaxation techniques.

7. Alcohol

A glass of wine or a cocktail drink before dinner stimulates hunger and increases your appetite even when you have a full stomach. One study shows that drinking alcohol makes people consume more foods that are high in calories. Alcohol also dehydrates you, thus tricking you into feeling hungry, rather than thirsty. You can offset this effect by alternately drinking water and alcohol when you are at a party or gathering.

8. Skipping Meals

One major disadvantage of skipping meals to lose weight is that it makes you hungrier. Why am I always hungry? When your stomach is empty for a long time, your body produces more of the ghrelin hormone which prompts you to eat and binge on more food. To avoid this, eat small, frequent meals and avoid skipping meals.

9. Certain Medications

Some drugs can make you feel hungry all the time. These include antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft, corticosteroids like prednisone (used to treat allergies, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease). If you are taking medications that seem to increase your appetite, ask your doctor if it is possible to use another drug.

10. Worm Infestation

Intestinal parasites like worms are common and these can rob you of the nutrients from the food you eat. Parasites like tapeworms can live in your intestines without you knowing it until symptoms get worse. Sometimes the only symptom is constant hunger with failure to gain weight.

11. Pregnancy

Every woman knows that being pregnant can cause an increase in appetite. But why am I always hungry during pregnancy? There’s a baby who is depending on you for nourishment. Therefore, this is a good time to eat more, although with caution. Pregnant women must eat nutrient-dense foods and avoid junk foods that can cause unhealthy weight gain. If you are not sure whether you are pregnant, take a home pregnancy test and see if this is the cause of your increased appetite.

12. Eating Disorder

Sometimes, constant hunger may be a symptom of an eating disorder like bulimia which involves binge eating or uncontrolled overeating. A person who has bulimia tends to eat larger amounts of food within a short amount of time (less than two hours). This is usually followed by self-induced vomiting or purging.

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