Hunger is a signal that your body fuel store is depleted. In this context, fuel means food. If you have skipped your breakfast, then having a hunger pang is normal.
But if you have eaten a meal and you feel unnecessarily hungry before your next meal, then something could be wrong somewhere.
For a health-conscious person, hunger could be your worst enemy.
There could be some medical reasons why you have that hunger feeling always. In such cases, you will need an immediate solution to prevent more serious health consequences.
Here are 10 reasons why you are always hungry and how to fix it.
1. Poor Sleep Quality
If you are a restless sleeper or you always having difficulty getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily, you might feel hungry all the time.
A night of poor sleep can seriously affect two hormones linked to appetite.
It can cause a sudden surge in the level of Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as decrease the level of Leptin, a hormone that causes feelings of fullness.
Along with feeling hungry, other noticeable symptoms of sleep deprivation includes; mood change, weight gain, clumsiness, decreased level of concentration to a task, increase in accidents, etc.
To fix this problem, aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. By so doing, you will get your energy level and hunger hormones back on track.
2. Excessive exposure to stressors
When you undergo excess stress, your body’s stress hormones Cortisol rises. This hormone stimulates your body to eat more food. This hormone increases your sugar and high-fat foods craving.
In fact, eating more during stress does not reduce negative emotions or anxieties, rather it triggers the need to eat more leading to weight gain and more health issues.
A report published in Psychoneuroendocrinology shows that a psycho-physiological response to stress may influence subsequent eating behavior. Over time, these alterations could have serious impact on both weight and health.
Other stress-related symptoms include anger, fatigue, sleep problems, headaches etc.
To fix this, you need to exercise and meditate. Listening to music can also help control your stress level.
3. Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia simply means the level of glucose in your blood is very low. This condition can make you unnecessarily hungry.
The brain cells need adequate energy to function properly and glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain. So when your blood sugar goes down, so does your brainpower. The brain will then send signals that your body needs fuel, hence the feeling of hunger begins.
Apart from hunger, other symptoms of hypoglycemia include pale skin, anxiety, headache, tingling sensation around the mouth, sweating and a general feeling of unwell.
Hypoglycemia is, however, a common concern for people with diabetes, but people with other health problems like hepatitis, kidney disorders, and problems with pituitary and adrenal glands can also experience this problem.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause frequent hunger pangs.
In normal condition, the body converts the carbohydrate in food into a metabolic fuel called glucose. But if you are diabetic, the sugar from the food you eat may not enter your tissues to supply energy. This can cause energy demanding tissues like the muscle to make you crave for more food.
Apart from hunger pangs, other symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, constant fatigue, cuts and bruises that take longer to heal and a tingling sensation in the hands or feet.
Whether you are suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, keeping your blood sugar level under control is very important or it will have a negative effect on your vital organs.
5. Thyroid Issues
Hyperthyroidism, a common disease affecting the thyroid can also lead to hunger pangs.
When the thyroid hormone levels are too high, your body’s metabolic processes increases and you deplete your energy store faster. As your body’s metabolism increases, there is also a corresponding increase in hunger.
People suffering from hyperthyroidism don’t gain weight even after eating too much. Instead, the person loses weight because the body burns calories at a faster rate.
Apart from hunger and an enlarged thyroid gland, other signs of hyperthyroidism include bulging eyes, fast pulse rate, muscle weakness, feeling nervous, feeling thirsty even after drinking water and excessive sweating.
6. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
A woman who is about to menstruate can also notice an increase in appetite.
The hormonal changes occur during the second half of the menstrual cycle and go away within 1 to 2 days after the period starts which can make you feel hungry frequently.
Additionally, the basal body temperature increases during this period which further affects your appetite.
Besides feeling hungry, women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) also tend to feel tired and dehydrated.
Other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, fatigue and sleep problems.
To fix this, eat protein-rich foods with each meal before your periods. Also, minimize your intake of processed and refined carbohydrates and sugars
7. Parasite Infestation
Sometime hunger pangs could also be as a result of worm infestation in the intestines.
Intestinal worms especially tapeworms and pinworms can live for a longer period of time without your knowledge of it. These worms deprive the body of all the essential nutrients, thus making you want to eat frequently.
Parasite infestation may cause one to have a strong hunger pang especially during the early morning and may also never feel satisfied or full after eating a meal.
If you feel hungry frequently even after a meal combined with an unexplained weight loss, it’s time to see your doctor.
Many expectant mothers experience an increase in appetite which is not really a bad thing. As a matter of fact, an increase in appetite helps ensures that your baby gets enough nutrients to grow.
Most pregnant women gain about 4 to 6 pounds during the first trimester, then 1 pound per week during the second and third trimesters.
However, an increased appetite during pregnancy is not a green light for your to eat anything that comes your way. In as much as calorie needs increases during pregnancy, you also need to eat healthily.
Eat whole and real foods, green vegetables, fresh fruits, and nuts. During pregnancy, you should avoid processed and sugary foods.
Healthy eating will help keep you and your growing baby healthy.
You can also feel hungry when the body is dehydrated. Most of the times, many people mistake hunger for thirst.
You feel thirsty when your body needs water.
Most people confuse the signal for thirst with that of hunger because the same part of the brain (hypothalamus) sends both signals.
If you are dehydrated, the brain sends a signal that you need to consume something, what you really need at this point is a liquid intake.
Water is the main medium in which the cell uses to metabolize the food you eat. Lack of nutrient causes your body to crave for more food.
Apart from hunger, other symptoms of dehydration include constipation, low energy, sluggishness, dry skin, dizziness, decreased urine output and dry eyes.
10. Drinking Alcohol
A glass of alcoholic drink can also be the reason why you are always hungry.
Alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in the hormone Ghrelin, which triggers a feeling of hunger even on a full stomach. It has also been revealed that people tend to eat more while drinking.
What’s more, alcohol intake dehydrates you, which in turn can trick your brain into thinking you need food when your body actually needs water.
A 2017 study published in Nature Communications reveals that alcohol switches the brain into starvation mode, increasing hunger and appetite.
Avoiding alcohol can help you control your hunger pangs.