Unusually big appetite can be a symptom of health problems, but there could be some other reasons why you can’t stop eating. Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson explains why you are always feeling hungry.
You eat too many carbohydrates
If your evening meal was rich in carbohydrates, it is very possible that the next day you’ll feel hungry, even when you eat. When we consume high quantities of carbohydrates at once, especially high glycemic index carbs, it leads to the release of high doses of insulin in the body.
Because your blood cannot tolerate too much sugar, your body naturally produces the hormone insulin that takes sugar from the blood and deposits it into the cells. After the “work” has been done by insulin, a new state occurs – low blood sugar. To bring blood sugar back up, your body sends your brain a chemical message saying that it needs more glycose. This is when you start craving more sugars, or any other carbohydrates for that matter.
To avoid this, Shona advises not to eat refined carbohydrates, and instead choose meals that contain refined carbohydrates in small amounts, combined with higher amounts of protein and fiber and some fats. Thus the body will slowly absorb the carbohydrates, while you will have a sense of satiety.
You lack sleep
Lack of sleep can have a direct impact on hunger, no matter how much you eat. Why? Due to lack of sleep the body reduces levels of the hormone leptin, which signals that you are not hungry and prevents hunger. On the other hand, lack of sleep increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger.
You are dehydrated
Sometimes we confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger. We feel that the body lacks something and we interpret that feeling as hunger, when in fact, we only need a glass of water. Water is also needed to transport nutrients to tissue cells, so the lack of water can also create the feeling of hunger.
Shona Wilkinson says that drinking water between meals helps keep you satiated and reduces appetite. However, it is important NOT to drink water several minutes before eating, during or right after a meal since it interferes with digestion.
You have a monthly cycle
It has been proven that females have an increased appetite between ovulation and menstruation. During this period it is important to eat foods rich in protein (fish, meat, eggs, nuts …) and to reduce the amount of certain refined carbohydrates and sugar. Also, caffeine and alcohol should be reduced because they influence the hormonal balance.
Appetite is higher during pregnancy, and this is quite normal. However, it is very important to eat healthy during pregnancy. Avoid highly processed foods. Eat healthy and always carry a healthy snack with you. This will reduce the chances of you eating something unhealthy when the cravings start. Eat foods rich in nutrients because this will reduce the chances of over-eating and at the same time you will provide your body and the baby everything it needs.
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In case you need to know, here is a list with the best appetite suppressing foods and snacks to keep hunger and cravings at bay.