I'm Always Hungry: Various Causes and Best Solutions
Insufficient energy intake, unbalanced diet, consumption of certain foods, meal times, stress, fatigue, sleep... Find out all the possible reasons for wanting to eat between meals and the solutions that exist to stop snacking throughout the day.
Feeling constantly hungry is not normal, and it can lead to frustration, compulsive eating, and health problems. Determining the origin of this desire to eat is a first step in finding a balanced diet adapted to the body's needs. An overview of the various potential causes and solutions that exist with Sarah Marin Meyer, RD, RD, co-founder of Make Me Healthy.
Why am I always hungry?
Various causes can explain the constant feeling of hunger and the desire to constantly eat during the day, or even at night.
However, in special situations associated with certain diseases, Sarah Marin-Mer identified these factors responsible for the constant feeling of hunger, which, as she remembers, "is not normal!"
Insufficient energy intake
Over the course of the day, week, or month, you can eat less than the amounts your body needs. Note that the number of calories needed for the proper functioning of the body varies from person to person, and therefore must be customized (by gender, calorie expenditure, individual metabolism, etc.).
Unbalanced food intake
It's not about the number of calories in the dish, it's about the variety. You lack (or don't have enough) certain families of foods that are essential to a balanced diet. Whole starches, for example, are essential to this balance, because as a bonus, they help to be "stuck" after a meal thanks to their satiating effect.
Lots of ultra-processed foods
A diet rich in ultra-processed products, very rich in sugars, or consumption of sugary drinks such as soda etc. can be responsible for this feeling of hunger, by causing differences in blood sugar levels. These sugars, which are also present in salted and refined products, increase the level of sugar in the blood, which drops as quickly as possible and gives cravings for a snack ...
Consumption of refined grains
For the same reasons as consuming ultra-processed foods, consuming refined grains puts you at risk of feeling hungry and thus snacking. Eating white pasta, white bread, or any other food based on white flour can cause "reactive hypoglycemia," as the specialist points out. To avoid this, we will instead switch to whole grains, along with high-fiber vegetables that increase the feeling of satiety.
Lack of a meal routine on weekdays and/or weekends
Poor food portioning can also explain that you're hungry. Ideally, it is recommended to eat three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and one to three healthy snacks each day depending on your needs. Also, skipping a meal is a very bad idea: whether it is during the week or on the weekend, maintaining this rhythm of meals and eating is important so as not to disturb the body and expose it to cravings for snacks ...
Inappropriate meal times
If it is advisable to maintain the rhythm of three main meals a day, the times may vary from person to person. To avoid feeling hungry during the day or at night, it is therefore best to adjust your meal times according to your appetite (while staying within a certain logic of course, the idea is not to have lunch at 4pm or dinner at 11pm!).
Excessive consumption of liquid foods
Consuming more liquid foods (soups, smoothies, purees, soups, etc.) can lead to food cravings. A preference for solid foods rather than liquids during meals is essential to chewing and sending a "satiety" message to the brain.
fatigue and stress
Fatigue and stress can be factors responsible for feeling hungry. As a bonus, when we feel tired and/or stressed, we tend to turn to foods rich in sugars and fats to try and get a little comfort food or "quick energy." “...bad idea, because we know this type of food will increase cravings for snacks…
Confusion between feeling thirsty and feeling hungry
Finally, Sarah Marin-Mere warns that it is possible, in some cases, for the brain to confuse feeling thirsty with feeling hungry. Before you rush to the kitchen cabinets, make sure you are hydrating yourself properly, that is, by drinking at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day!
Why do I always go hungry after eating?
All of the above reasons are also valid for people who have left the table and who are "still hungry".
Feeling hungry after eating is not as normal as the nutritionist reminds us, and it can be explained in particular by:
Reactive hypoglycemia: Eating refined or ultra-processed foods, sweets, etc., during a meal, which causes the blood sugar level to rise very quickly, causing you to feel hungry.
Meal eaten very quickly. It takes at least 20 minutes to give the brain time to absorb that you are eating a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner). That's why it's important to take the time to chew every bite, so that the message of satiety gets well!
Meal is not taken lightly. As for the meal eaten urgently (without taking into account the necessary 20 minutes), the meal eaten in front of a series, television, social networks, or any other screen, does not benefit the body. Without focusing on the meal, since we're doing something else at the same time, the brain doesn't realize we're eating...and feelings of hunger quickly follow!
Unbalanced meal. Beware of "snacks" or meals that consist only of certain families of foods, such as only vegetables for example. In order for the meal to be considered balanced, and to avoid feeling hungry between meals, we always think about putting it on the menu: proteins, vegetables, starchy foods and a little vegetable oil.
Why do I snack all the time?
Eating snacks between meals is not good for your health and does not benefit your personality.. Do you spend your time eating snacks? Perhaps the cause of these cravings can be fixed by changing some bad habits that many of us have:
Not getting enough energy while the main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are not enough.
Skipping meals, splitting bad food (set up healthy, balanced snacks to avoid rushing a box of cake between meals, for example).
Consumption of refined/sugar foods, sugary drinks, which make you want to snack (reactive hypoglycaemia).
The fact that you eat fruit juices, compotes instead of whole fruits (which provide fiber and increase the feeling of satiety).
Lack of organization for meal preparation which leads to snacking throughout the day instead of eating real meals.
Exhaustion: Often the number one source of energy we seek is food.
Stress: It can cause cravings for snacks, and a desire to follow a "loved" diet.
Boredom: which can also lead to eating 'like' foods.
How do you stop being hungry all the time?
In order to "stop" feeling hungry all the time, you must first identify the cause or causes of these daily cravings.
To find a balanced, healthy diet for the body and streak, Sarah Marin Meer ideally recommends turning to a nutritionist. A dietitian will know how to guide you, and adapt your menus to your needs, which vary from person to person. As a bonus, he can support you through these small changes in your lifestyle.
To avoid feeling hungry between meals, it is important:
Offer meals that are sufficient in terms of energy and a balanced intake (your dietitian can guide you).
To prepare snacks in the morning and afternoon (included in the daily energy, unlike snacks).
Never miss meals.
To provide balanced meals without forgetting a family of foods (proteins / vegetables / starches / vegetable oil).
Seeking to understand what these nibbles might be related to from an emotional/environmental point of view: stress, fatigue, habits, boredom... to act on these factors.
Get well hydrated (drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day)
Do regular physical activity.
To take the time to eat, to be aware of what you are eating, and to have your meals in peace, without distraction.
To get enough sleep and rejuvenate (to avoid feeling tired and seeking energy from food).