Who does not know it? You have just eaten something and still have the feeling that you are not really full. There is a feeling of constant hunger. There can be various reasons for this. At the beginning it can be said that in most cases there is a very simple explanation and there is nothing bad behind it.
In the following part we will deal with the phenomenon of constant hunger and show you possible causes for it. We also give you helpful tips and tricks along the way.
the essentials in brief
- In most cases, the wrong diet is responsible for the constant hunger. Empty calories and nutrient-poor foods don't provide the body with enough nutrition, so hunger comes back faster.
- Hunger for certain foods, such as candy, chips, and even meat, can provide insight into what your body may be lacking. In many cases, there is a vitamin deficiency, which can be identified with a blood count. This deficiency can be responsible for the constant hunger.
- To fight the constant hunger, you should take care of your body. Lack of sleep and stressful situations can contribute to the fact that your body keeps asking for food to replenish its energy reserves.
Background: What you should know about constant hunger and its possible causes
First we want to answer questions that are often asked in connection with constant hunger. It is also about the phenomenon that many menstruating people know - constant hunger before the period.
Why am I always hungry?
There are numerous reasons why you are constantly hungry. One of the reasons is easy to name. All you have to do is see the food, be it in an advertisement or on a billboard, and you get hungry. Responsible for this is the neurosecretory protein hormone ghrelin in the blood, which is increased by the optical stimulation with images of food.(1,2)
We have summarized other causes for you in a table.
|Caused||effect on hunger|
|empty calories||One speaks of empty calories when they provide little or no essential nutrients apart from energy. Examples of these empty calories are candy, white flour products, and chips. Due to the lower nutrient density, you will be hungry again faster.|
|pregnancy||During pregnancy, hormones can be the reason why you constantly feel hungry. In particular, the pregnancy hormone beta-hCG is responsible for either not feeling hungry or feeling excessively hungry.|
|insufficient sleep||Insomnia makes you feel hungry the next day. One reason for this is the increased activity in two brain areas. This triggers a neural reward system. Accordingly, snacks represent a reward stimulus to which the brain responds.(3) Other reasons given in connection with constant hunger and little sleep are a fluctuating hormone balance and the belief that awake people use more energy and are therefore more hungry .(4)|
|stress||In stressful situations, such as conflicts, (financial) worries or approaching deadlines, food cravings and an increased feeling of hunger can occur. The brain sends signals that make you either lose your appetite completely or feel hungry all the time. It all depends on the individual.(5)|
If none of the above factors apply to you that could make you feel hungry all the time, you should contact a doctor.
Should I be concerned about constant hunger?
As listed above, there are many simple reasons why you are constantly hungry. Of course, there can also be other reasons that may not be as easy to fix as reducing stress or getting enough sleep. For example, there could be a deficiency that can then be determined via a blood count. A deficiency can usually be remedied through supplementation or a complete change in diet.
A blood count at the doctor's can provide information about a deficiency.
There are also some diseases where constant hunger is a companion. Here you shouldn't drive yourself crazy and look for possible illnesses on the internet, but rather consult your trusted doctor, who can help you.
Why am I always hungry before my period?
Many menstruators know the problem well enough. Shortly before your period you suddenly have an unbearable appetite for sweet, salty and greasy food. There is even a scientific reason for this.
Before menstruation, many menstruators have cravings for high-calorie foods like burgers, fries, pizza, and candy. The reason for this is a hormone that is particularly low before the period and causes almost insatiable hunger. (Image source: ready made / Pexels)
Just before your period, progesterone levels are low and symptoms are higher.(6) These symptoms are associated with typical menstrual pain. This low level of progesterone appears to be responsible for menstruating women being "more susceptible" to high-calorie foods before their period than at other times during their cycle.
Why is it that I am constantly hungry for certain foods?
Sometimes cravings for certain foods can occur. You may be wondering why you are hungry for just that one food. In the following table you can find out what the craving for something sweet, savory or salty can do for your body.
|sweet foods||A possible reason for the craving for chocolate, cake or gummy bears can be low blood sugar levels. Your body needs energy quickly, which can be supplied quickly by small sweet snacks. Another reason can be a zinc deficiency or vitamin B6 deficiency .|
|salty foods||The reason for this can be an imbalanced electrolyte balance . Heavy sweating, not enough fluids and an unhealthy diet can throw this imbalance. Your body needs liquid, which you should give it urgently.|
|acidic foods||It's not just pregnant women who feel hungry for gherkins. Craving something sour, like a pickle, can indicate a vitamin C deficiency . Another possibility is that your stomach needs something for stomach acid production, which it also gets from acidic foods.|
|hunger for meat||Especially the hunger for red meat can indicate an iron deficiency . Even vegetarians and vegans often have the problem of having an iron deficiency. That doesn't mean they have to go back to meat, though. There are many other foods that are high in iron that can be used to meet the need. These are, for example, legumes, nuts and seeds.|
Of course, you can also just feel hungry for certain foods. A piece of cake with a cup of coffee, chips in front of the TV and a delicious burger while dining out with friends. All of this is perfectly normal. We just want to show you what could be the reason if you are constantly hungry only for certain foods.
Why am I always hungry after exercising?
Maybe you know the feeling that after a day at the pool and a few laps in the sports pool you feel very hungry. On the other hand, maybe you're not hungry after a really hard workout at the gym? That's perfectly normal.
The hormone ghrelin is responsible for increasing appetite. It is released during sporting activities, but also in stressful situations.
It seems that the more strenuous your training, the less hungry you are. This is due to the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin.(7) However, after very intense training sessions, less ghrelin is released than after a lighter workout. In addition to ghrelin, higher blood lactate levels can also suppress the feeling of hunger.
In any case, sooner or later you will get hungry. Under no circumstances should you skip eating after exercising, not least because otherwise ravenous hunger attacks can "haunt" you at a later point in time.
Always hungry: The best tips & tricks on how to fight constant hunger
There are a few things you can do to avoid constant hunger. The main thing is to pay attention to your body and take good care of it.
The right diet
Proper nutrition plays a major role in developing a healthy relationship with food and avoiding constant hunger and potential binge eating.
Whole grains, some fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts are very high in fiber and will keep you full longer after eating these foods. They provide your body with important nutrients and fill up your body's reserves.
A balanced diet includes fruit, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats, such as those found in nuts. They are high in fiber and will keep you full for a long time. (Image Source: Vanessa Loring / Pexels)
Unlike empty calories, your stomach spends longer processing food. Your blood sugar is also stable longer, so you don't suddenly feel like you need to eat something urgently.(8)
Lots of drinking
It can happen that thirst is confused with hunger. When you are thirsty, your body sends signals similar to those when you are hungry. If you ever feel hungry, first think about whether you've had enough fluids.
This primarily means water, juice spritzers and unsweetened tea. An adult should drink at least 1.5 liters of fluids per day. A glass of water or a juice spritzer, which also raises blood sugar levels, can help to initially fill up the stomach and reduce hunger.(9)
"My body is my temple" is a saying that you hear more and more often. It's about treating your body with care and giving it what it needs. This includes following a healthy lifestyle. If you pay attention to the following points, it may help you with constant hunger.
Maybe you know the feeling that in stressful times like before an important exam or an upcoming deadline at work, you could eat all the time and not really get full. That's because long, concentrated work can make you hungry. Your body and especially your brain uses a lot of energy, whether you are on the move or sitting at a desk.
So it's important to take breaks and rest. Ideally, you should make sure that you eat something nutritious so that you can then continue to work in a concentrated manner. Brain foods such as nuts and legumes are well suited for this. It's not for nothing that trail mix, consisting of nuts and dried fruit, has been around for years and provides you with enough energy.
Avoid unhealthy diets
There is definitely nothing wrong with eating healthy, but diets, which in most cases are based on a large calorie deficit, leave you hungry and cravings all the time. You should therefore make sure that you supply your body with all the important nutrients as well as possible.
Many diets will sooner or later ensure that you are constantly hungry and may even have food cravings.
If weight loss is desired, you should ideally discuss this with your family doctor, who can give you important tips along the way. Diets in which you do without everything possible will sooner or later ensure that you cannot resist the constant hunger.
Listen to your own body
It can happen, for example, that you feel hungry again a short time after breakfast. Then, of course, the question arises as to whether you had the right breakfast, such as a high-fiber porridge or whole-grain bread. You shouldn't feel really hungry just after a meal.
Sometimes hunger is confused with boredom.
If you're confident that you've had an adequate and nutritious breakfast, it's possible that you're just bored and therefore feel hungry and need to eat.(10)
In summary, there can be numerous reasons why people are constantly hungry. For one thing, it's possible to eat too much of the wrong thing and not enough of the right thing. On the other hand, there can of course also be health reasons for which you should consult your family doctor. In most cases, the problem of constant hunger can be solved quickly and easily with small changes.
We hope that we were able to help you with our article and that you were able to take a few tips with you to fight against constant hunger.
- Schuessler P, Kluge M, Yassouridis A, Dresler M, Uhr M, Steiger A. Ghrelin levels increase after pictures showing food Source
- Duszka K, Gregor A, Reichel MW, Baierl A, Fahrngruber C, König J. Visual stimulation with food pictures in the regulation of hunger hormones and nutrient deposition, a potential contributor to the obesity crisis. Source
- Julia S. Rihm, Mareike M. Menz, Heidrun Schultz, Luca Bruder, Leonhard Schilbach, Sebastian M. Schmid, Jan Peters. Sleep Deprivation Selectively Upregulates an Amygdala–Hypothalamic Circuit Involved in Food Reward Source
- Markwald RR, Melanson EL, Smith MR, Higgins J, Perreault L, Eckel RH, Wright KP Jr. Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. Source
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- J. Strahler, A. Hermann, N. M. Schmidt, R. Stark, J. Hennig, A. J. Munk, Food cue-elicited brain potentials change throughout menstrual cycle: Modulation by eating styles, negative affect, and premenstrual complaints, Source
- Sleeman MW, Spanswick DC. Starving for ghrelin. Source
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- Helen M Parretti, Paul Aveyard, Andrew Blannin, Susan J Clifford, Sarah J Coleman, Andrea Roalfe, Amanda J Daley. Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity. Source
- British Psychological Society (BPS). Bored people reach for the chips. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2016. Source