Of course you’re going to feel hungry now and then on the Military Diet, but being hungry all the time may be a result of dietary choices, lifestyle or medical conditions. You may feel frequently hungry if you’re not getting enough protein, fat or fiber. All the latter food reduces appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Extreme hunger is also a sign of a hectic lifestyle, when you don’t get enough sleep or you’re too stressed out. Below are the top ten reasons why you might feel hungry all the time.
You don’t eat enough protein
Protein is a major factor in appetite control. Eating protein reduces hunger by increasing fullness hormones and reducing hunger hormones. For this reason, you may feel hungry frequently if you’re not eating enough meat, fish, nuts, beans and eggs. All these contain high amounts of protein. Including a source of protein in every meal can help prevent frequent hunger.
You don’t eat enough fat
Fat takes longer to digest so it remains in your stomach longer, meaning you feel full longer. You may feel hungry often if you don’t eat enough fat. That’s because fat plays a major role in slowing down digestion and increasing the production of fullness hormones. Certain fats like MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) and omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce appetite. MCTs are found in coconut oil and Omega 3 is found in fatty fishes like salmon and tuna. For veggie options, try walnuts, avocados, olive oil.
You don’t eat enough fiber
High fiber foods keep your appetite under control the same way as fat; both take longer to digest and therefore keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Some fiber is better than others for controling your appetite. Soluble fiber found in foods like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and oranges keep you feeling full longer. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet, opt for plant based foods like fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains and vegetables.
You don’t get enough sleep
The link between weight gain, hunger and sleep deprivation is huge. Sleep deprivation is known to mess with your hunger hormone levels and will leave you feeling both hungry and tired all the time. A lack of sleep leads to higher levels of gherlin, which is an appetite stimulating hormone. The more gherlin you have, the hungrier you will be. For most people, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is recommended.
You eat too many refined carbohydrates
Ever notice how hungry you get not long after eating a lot of white bread or white pasta? Both are examples of refined carbs. Since refined carbs lack fiber, your body digests them very quickly, spiking your blood sugar and leading to a big crash shortly after. So if you’re eating bread, pasta, and candy all the time, no wonder you feel hungry all the time. You can still eat carbs, but you need to add fiber in the form of whole grains to keep your hunger under control and get more out of your meals.
You don’t drink enough water
Dehydration causes hunger, not just thirst. The feeling of thirst can often be mistaken for hunger, so always drink a glass or two of water to find out what you’re really feeling. Staying hydrated is important for your health on so many levels. It helps to keep your digestion system healthy and functioning at an optimal level. Water is also a known appetite suppressant before a meal. If you’re not drinking enough water, you might find you frequently feel hungry.
You drink too much alcohol
Alcohol is an appetite stimulant. In fact, alcohol intake is a major risk factor in obesity. People who drink more alcohol than the average person also eat 10% more calories throughout the day, never mind the calories in alcohol itself, especially beer or sugary cocktails. And let’s face it, drunk people don’t make the best food choices, often consuming pizza, high fat and salty foods, either when they’re drunk or hungover.
You drink your calories instead of eating them
Smoothies, soups and meal replacement shakes often leave you hungrier than solid foods because liquids pass through your system more quickly than solid food. You can consume liquid food faster too, meaning the fullness signal your body sends to the brain gets confused. People who eat liquid snacks report less fullness and more hunger than those who consume a solid snack. So if a major part of your calories come in liquid form, think again.
You take certain medications
Increased appetite is a side effect of many medications, especially antipsychotics, such as clozapine and olanzapine, as well as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, corticosteroids, and anti-seizure drugs. Some diabetes medications like insulin also increase your appetite. You should talk to your doctor if you’re always hungry and taking any of these medications. Especially if the medications are causing weight gain.
You have a medical condition
If you have a medical condition that’s causing hunger, diabetes is often the cause because of high blood sugar levels. But there are certainly a few other medical conditions that cause excessive hunger, like hyperthyroidism with its overactive thyroid and hypoglycemia and its low blood sugar levels. If you are frequently hungry and suspect a medical condition is the cause, rule these out before looking any further.