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5 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry

HUNGER, hunger, hunger pangs? Let's get to the bottom of it. 

Here it comes again—the rumble and grumbles in your tummy, compelling you to shift your focus from the task at hand to your dissatisfied appetite. Let's remind ourselves, lunch was what, just an hour ago? Hmm...it seems like your body is all set for a wholesome meal, again. While hunger pangs are part and parcel of growing up, a constant desire to consume food may serve as an indicator of an underlying health condition. 

"While food is the fuel that re-energises our body when the source of nourishment becomes uncontrollable and repetitive, you may be dealing with a problem. If you often tend to feel hungry despite consuming a complete meal, consider speaking with a health advisor," suggests Dr Shikha Sharma, Certified Nutritionist. 

But before you run to your doc (yup, no one wants to venture out in the midst of a pandemic), Dr Shikha Sharma charts out a few probable reasons that could be triggering the uninhibited snacking. 

 

Dehydration

 

Are you really hungry? Or simply dehydrated? While your body signals an empty stomach, it may be difficult to discern between what it's actually demanding. Plus, symptoms of stomach gurgling, dizziness, emptiness, and fatigue often overlap for both conditions. "In such a scenario, one often fills their stomach up with food, rather than boosting consumption of water. And unknowingly, this has a direct impact on the kind of food one opts for in this situation—often unhealthy, packaged snacks," informs Dr Sharma.

 

Sleep Deprivation

 

Yup, sleep deprivation has a direct relationship with an increased appetite, just as it does with several others aspects of our life. Lack of sleep draws one towards over-consumption of unhealthy foods, with increased portion size and frequency. And this is due to two primary hormones—ghrelin and leptin—which are regulated by sleep and play an integral role in managing our appetite and hunger. While ghrelin regulates our appetite, leptin is responsible for providing a feeling of satiety or fullness. Dr Sharma further explains, "when your sleep is inadequate, parts of the brain that perceive hunger and fullness get impacted. As a result of this enhanced brain activity, food is viewed as a positive reward, which consequently leads us to what is known as 'binge-eating.' 

 

Thyroid

 

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is situated in front of the neck and is responsible for secreting triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones. These hormones are believed to influence the rate at which all the other organs work in our body. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism generally experience fatigue and tiredness. Hence, it comes as no surprise that such individuals experience a craving for carbohydrates, sugar, and processed junk foods for a boost of energy. 

 

Choice of Foods

 

What you choose to fill your stomach up with has a major role to play in determining your appetite levels. Excessive sugar intake, oily and salty foods, as well as products prepared with refined flour are often found to be the culprits. The chief ingredient in unhealthy foods such as cookies, burgers, pizzas, pastries, white bread and biscuits is refined flour. Besides this, candies, chocolate bars, packaged fruit juices, canned foods and ready-to-eat items pose to be lethal as well. Establishing a worrisome imbalance in our bodies, no matter how much you binge on these foods, you continue to feel hungry! (a deadly vicious cycle, perhaps). "It is the healthy fats and protein-laden foods that fill up your stomach and put proper digestion to work," informs Dr Sharma. 

 

Diabetes and Hypoglycemia

 

You are probably already aware that the food that we eat gets broken down into glucose and is used up by our cells. However, in the case of diabetes, our cells are unable to absorb the glucose from the food and it eventually passes through urination. As a result, our body repeatedly demands food. Those with type 1 diabetes face this issue more frequently. Hypoglycemia—often found in diabetics—is a condition where your blood glucose drops below the normal range. This, as well, leads to an increased desire for food every now and then. 

 

Apart from the above-mentioned reasons, there could be several other causes for an increased appetite. Certain medications—such as those taken to manage depression, neurological issues, diabetes, and antipsychotic drugs—may also trigger hunger. In addition, too much or too little exercise can induce hunger and cause one to eat way more than the body actually requires. Stress, anxiety, persistent boredom, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, menstruation, and lactation are a few other plausible reasons for severe hunger.