Hunger is an important sensation. It reminds us when we need to eat so we have enough fuel on board to run all of our systems.
But sometimes that feeling can backfire on us. In fact, for some folks it can seem like no matter how much they eat they still feel hungry all the time. Their stomach feels empty, and they can feel irritable or unfocused even when they’ve eaten recently.
If that sounds familiar, chances are you’re not just imagining it.
Hungry all the time? Find out why…
In fact, there are several common causes for that bothersome empty tummy feeling. And one of them could be behind your own growling gut.
Following are three common reasons people feel hungry all the time.
1. You’re not eating enough fat:
For many folks their hungry all the time feeling is triggering by misguided dieting. If you’ve slashed the fats from your diet because you’re trying to lose weight… or you simply want to be healthier… you may have gone too far.
Fat isn’t the boogeyman you may think it is. Besides, we crave it for a reason. We need enough of it in our diet to stay healthy.
And fat is satisfying. It helps make us feel full longer.
Which means, ironically, banning fat from your diet to lose weight could cause you to gain MORE. Because as you struggle to head off that hungry all the time feeling you are in danger of filling up on all the wrong foods.
In fact, in one study researchers found a low-fat diet caused volunteers to crave high sugar foods and carbs.
Fat takes longer for us to digest. Which means it hangs around in our bellies, helping us feel full longer. Plus, experts say fat triggers the releases of specific hormones that send signals to our belly and brain that we’re full.
The trick is to eat more healthy, high-fat foods and avoid the junk fats. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides, for example, are both good for you and satisfying.
To stop feeling hungry all the time stop denying yourself the fats you crave. Try eating more fatty fish such as wild-caught mackerel, salmon and tuna. Plus nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and eggs can add healthy fats to your diet, without causing you to pack on unwanted pounds.
2. You’re shortchanging yourself on sleep:
Sleep is critical for good health. Not getting enough of it can put you at risk for everything from dementia to libido problems.
But, surprisingly, skipping out on shuteye could also be behind that hungry all the time feeling that’s making you miserable. Because, it turns out, not getting enough sleep affects the hormones that govern our appetite.
Studies have found that when we’re sleep deprived, the hormone that increases our desire to eat—ghrelin—rises. At the same time not getting enough sleep could cause a dip in our leptin levels, the hormone that tells us we’re full and should stop eating.
Commit to getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night to shut down that hungry all the time feeling. Having trouble sleeping? Check out our reports 8 food secrets to help you sleep like a baby TONIGHT and 7 supplements to help you get a great night’s sleep without drugs for some extra help slipping off to sleep.
3. You need to eat more protein:
If you’re walking around with a growling gut despite eating three meals a day it might be time to take a look at the amount of protein you’re eating. Because while older folks, and people who eat a more plant-based diet, are at a higher risk for having too little protein in their diet, it can happen to any of us.
Like fat, protein helps us feel full and satisfied. Plus it helps regulate those appetite-controlling hormones we covered earlier.
In one study, a high protein diet left volunteers feeling fuller far longer than their low protein peers did. In fact, eating more protein slashed their late night snack attacks in half.
Keep the “hungries” at bay, and cut back on your own snacking, by eating more protein.
You don’t have to suffer with that empty stomach feeling any longer. Figure out which of these three common habits is behind your own hungry all the time feeling, and you can finally say goodbye to your growling gut.