Are you always feeling tired, dizzy and irritable? Is your stomach growling at you yet again? Are you currently reaching for your fifth snack of the day? While everybody else can seem to wait for hours in between each meal, it feels like you’re in a perpetual state of hunger. Maybe it’s just cravings or boredom or it could be your body trying to tell you something more serious. Hunger is more complicated than we think and is influenced by biological and psychological factors.
Too many refined carbs
While carbs are necessary, there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Refined carbs fall under the latter category and these include soft drinks, sweets and grain-based foods made with white flour. That means pasta, rice, pizza, pastries, cereals, and bread. What happens when you eat too much refined carbs is a rapid spike in your blood sugar, which accounts for that “high” you feel after eating sugary foods. However, with the rapid high comes the equally fast crash. Low blood sugar levels signal your body that it needs nourishment. You should still eat carbs, but choose healthier alternatives like brown rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables.
Lack of protein
If your problem is controlling your appetite, you can try to control by eating more protein. Protein increases your satiety, i.e., the signal that our bodies are full. Foods rich in protein include meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk and yoghurt.
Lack of fat
Foods with healthy fats can keep your stomach from growling all the time. Fat takes longer to digest, so that feeling of satiation can last longer and possibly tide you over to your next proper meal. Although, make sure your eating healthy foods that contain monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Stay away from foods with trans-fat and limit saturated fats. Sources of healthy fats include salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, avocados, eggs and olive oil.
Fibre does more than just promote better digestion, it can also keep your hunger in check. It takes a while to digest and promotes the production of hormones that make you feel full. Soluble fibre has been found to be more filling than insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre-rich foods include oatmeal, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, oranges and Brussel sprouts.
Lack of sleep
Sleeping regulates the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and not getting enough sleep means more ghrelin, which means more hunger pangs. Meanwhile, a healthy number of hours of sleep produce adequate levels of leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full.
Sometimes, your body is telling you it needs nourishment that’s not in the form of foods. You could simply be thirsty and a good number of studies have shown that sipping water can calm feelings of hunger.
Eating too fast while distracted
So much for the joys of dinner and a show. Not focusing on your meal can actually make your body unaware of exactly how much you’re eating. Likewise, eating too fast doesn’t give your body enough time to process that it’s getting nourishment.