Are you constantly hungry even after eating a meal? Do you find yourself heading to the refrigerator every hour or two for a snack? Feeling constantly hungry can come from a variety of causes; and it may not just be a lack of will power on your part. Some medical conditions can cause an increased appetite and the need to constantly snack. What are some possible reasons for feeling constantly hungry?
Before assuming there’s a medical cause for your hunger, reassess your diet. If you’re not consuming enough calories during the day or not getting adequate nutrition, hunger may be your body’s way of telling you to eat more. Even if you’re taking in enough calories, if you’re not getting enough protein and fat, you may still end up feeling constantly hungry. Vegetarians who get their protein from plant based foods are more likely to experience hunger ‘” especially if they’re not getting all of the essential amino acids. Protein increases satiety more than carbohydrates and fats, so eating protein with each meal may be one way to reduce those hunger pangs.
It’s also important to be sure you’re eating a regular time intervals throughout the day. Going for prolonged periods of time without food can lead to excessive hunger. It may be beneficial to eat five or six small meals a day rather than three larger ones to avoid the problem of feeling constantly hungry. Include a source of protein and a small amount of fat with each meal to increase satiety. Eating fiber rich foods also helps to reduce hunger and will keep you full longer since it slows down gastric emptying. Start the day off right with a good breakfast, and be sure to include an egg. Eggs are a good source of protein and studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast will stop hunger pangs better than eating a high carb breakfast.
If you’re still feeling constantly hungry after changing your diet, see your doctor for blood work and an evaluation. Some medical conditions can cause an increased appetite including diabetes, hypoglycemia, an overactive thyroid, or even an intestinal parasite. Sometimes feeling constantly hungry arises from stress or an underlying emotional problem. Before opening the refrigerator, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just eating out of boredom or frustration. Keeping a food journal can help you identify emotional factors that may be playing a role.
Finally, take a closer look at your medications. Some medications, particularly steroids, can increase appetite, as can antihistamines, antidepressants, and some seizure medications. If you’re taking prescription drugs, ask your doctor if they could be contributing to the problem.