We’ve all experienced that unwelcome hunger – you know, the kind that makes it feel like it owns you. And while the ability to get truly hungry is a good thing for your health, being hungry all the time is not something that screams balance. So what could be causing your constant hunger?
A low fibre diet is one of the main reasons you may be suffering from insatiable hunger. Fibre is the bulky, indigestible plant material that helps keep us full. It delays gastric emptying, helps with blood sugar control and regulates bowel function. Studies have also shown that foods high in fibre release a molecule called Acetate, which has an appetite suppressing effect.
Great sources: beans, lentils, nuts, artichoke, fig, squash, whole oats, wild rice, berries, amaranth, barley, quinoa
Your recipe for disaster? Not enough water + too much caffeine = Hungry McHungerson. Mild dehydration is often confused as hunger and causes us to overeat. Why? Our hypothalamus, the part of our brain that regulates both thirst and hunger, has a hard time telling the difference in those first stages of hunger vs dehydration, which often leads to wanting a snack (usually, a salty or sweet one!) rather than understanding we need to drink. Coupled with caffeine – which dehydrates you, taxes your B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism) and pumps your cortisol – you’re in for an uphill battle.
Protein – like fibre –can help signal satiety in the bran. Protein rich diets stimulate the production of CCK – a hormone that tells your body you’re full, and suppresses Ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates appetite and lets you know you’re hungry. Protein also stays in your stomach longer than a food with low nutrient density (like white bread for example), which promotes feelings of fullness and helps blunt spikes & crashes in insulin.
This is a tricky topic, but constant snacking is often a culprit of constant hunger. It can impact your digestion, decrease energy levels, and often has an emotional trigger, like boredom, anxiety, distraction or sadness. True hunger is easy to spot, and constant snacking often becomes more of a habit than a need. The more you get used to mindless eating, the more you’ll crave and the harder it will be to stop. Cutting down on snacking can be challenging at first, but once you regulate your hormones you’d be surprised at how much more energy, concentration and clarity you have. Read our popular article The Great Snacking Debate to understand why!
Excess sugar can lead to fluctuating energy levels, emotional swings, insulin imbalance and extreme hunger. Need we say more?
How can you kick the habit? Include whole grains, natural sweet vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, parsnip, pumpkin and squash in your diet and cut out everything processed and sweetened.