Why Am I Always Hungry? -- Causes and
Top 10 Natural Remedies
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May 2, 2012, last updated May 22, 2016

By Stephen Kintz, Contributing Columnist

According to the United Nations’ World Food Progamme,
there are 925 million people who do not have enough food.
So 1 out of 7 people in the world go to bed hungry, and 98
percent of these people live in the developing world. This is
real hunger. This is also a stark contrast to the developed
world. In a 2011 Gallup Poll, 30 percent of American adults
admitted to being on a diet, with over 66 percent of adults
admitting to being overweight.

Obviously, most of us are not actually hungry as much as we
think we are. So in the light of so many dieters and
overeaters in American society, I think it is important to
understand the biological causes of hunger and to explore
ways to regulate Americans' seemingly uncontrollable
appetite. In other words, why are you always
feeling hungry
when in fact your body doesn't really need food?

Why Do You Get So Hungry?

In America, we do not by and large have a hunger problem.
We have an appetite problem.

Hunger appears simple. If you are hungry, you want food.
Yet as discussed by Hainerová and colleagues in a December
2010 issue of the “Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and
Nutrition,” appetite regulation is a complex and impressive
bodily system.

Appetite is regulated by an impressive array of peripheral
hormones and neuronal receptors communicating
information about your body’s energy and compound levels
to the central nervous system. (Read more about
foods that
help to "turn off" your appetite.)

Within the central nervous system, the hypothalamus and
brain stem play the orchestrators role in responding and
controlling these systems. Of course, other systems play an
important role in controlling appetite. The sensory systems
(taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing) and the reward
centers of brain appear to play a role in appetite regulation.
Moreover, habits can influence the body and brain into
suppressing or activating hunger.

Of course, there are many factors that can disrupt this
balance. The National Institute of Health lists several
diseases and disorders, like
hypoglycemia or Graves’
disease, diabetes and thyroid disorders that lead to a
disruption in the appetite regulation system and, eventually,
present with extreme hunger.

If you do not know the cause of your ferocious appetite or
your appetite presents with other symptoms, you should
consult your doctor. Yet, typically, most people are hungry
because they have a lifestyle or diet that disrupts their body’
s ability to regulate appetite, or they are one of 30 percent
of Americans on a diet.

If lifestyle and diet can explain your stomach’s unreasonable
rumbles, the following 10 remedies should calm your belly
and ease your hunger.

Top 10 Remedies for Uncontrollable Hunger

1. Limit Fats and Sugars

A fat and sugar rich diet has been linked to an increase in
appetite and a disruption in the appetite regulation systems.
Furthermore, Martin and colleagues published a study in the
2011 October issue of “Obesity” that demonstrates that low
carbohydrate, low fat diets do appear to reduce hunger in
most participants. Of course, carbohydrates are quickly
broken done into sugar; so if you want to suppress your
hunger, you should limit the amount of sugar,
carbohydrates, and fats you eat.

Increase Fiber and Protein

Of course, if you should avoid foods high in fat and sugar,
you should eat foods high in protein and fiber. There have
been several studies that demonstrate that fiber and protein
act as an appetite suppressant. The mechanism that allow
fiber and protein to act as an appetite suppressant is not
well understood, but researchers have seen enough of an
appetite suppressing effect from fiber and protein, especially
fiber, that one researcher recommended monitoring fiber
intake in children, so the children’s appetite is not
suppressed to a level where they are not eating a healthy,
balances diet.

Eat Slower

There is still some debate about whether eating slower will
reduce hunger. The claim is that the body takes 20 to 30
minutes before it realizes it is full. So if you eat slowly, your
body will realize you are full before you consume too many

If you consume fewer calories consistently, you should have
a better handle on your appetite. There have been studies
that suggest that slow eating or structured meals do result
in eating fewer calories and better appetite suppression.

Yet there is a study that looked at people with a high degree
of self-control, and the study found that people with a high
degree of self-control to not benefit from eating slowly.
People with a high degree of self-control are, of course, the
people most likely to execute this form of behavioral change
and appetite regulation. The debate is not over, but it seems
reasonable that a controlled approach to eating is better
than pouring food down your gullet. I suppose, at the very
least, eating slowly will prevent you from choking.

Avoid Fake Fats and Sugars

Qing Yang published an article in the June 2010 issue of
“Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine” that claims diet foods
increase appetite. Unfortunately, our brains are not stupid.
Therefore, when we try to trick our brains with fake fats and
sugars, our peripheral appetite systems prepare our brain
for a rewarding bounty of sweet and savory foods that
never come.

Apparently, our brains are not fooled by fake fats and
sugars, but the brain does feel cheated. Since brain is
deprived of the promised fats and sugars, the brain sends
the appetite control system into starvation mode. Basically,
the brain tries to punish you with hunger and food craving
until you give it the fats and sugars you promised. So if you
wish to avoid your brain sending you into starvation mode,
avoid diet foods.

Eat Water Rich Foods

Barbara Rolls from Pennsylvania State University has
conducted a study that showed that drinking water did not
regulate or suppress appetite. This study was one of the
first to actually test the idea that water could be used as an
appetite suppressant.

Instead, the researchers found that water rich foods like
pasta, smoothies, fruits, vegetables, and soups not only
caused participants in the study to eat less food but also
suppressed their appetite. The researcher suggested that
thirst and hunger rely on two different bodily systems.

So high water intake must accompany actual food to reduce
hunger. So if you want to feel satiated, do no grab a cool
glass of water but grab a cool Fiji Apple or a bowl of soup.  

Limit Food Choices

Sørensen and colleagues from The Royal Veterinary and
Agricultural University in Frederiksberg C, Denmark
conducted a review in the October 2003 issue of the
“International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic
Disorders” that claimed sensory information plays a big role
in appetite.

This should be obvious to anyone who has seen a double
chocolate fudge cake and instantly became hungry. While
their review claimed that more research is needed to
understand the sensory system influence on appetite, they
did suggests that some studies have indicated that an
increase in food choice increase calorie intake and appetite.
This is most likely because a diet with a variety of foods
gives the brain the ability to crave a multitude of different
items. So if you want to suppress your appetite, you might
want to limit your diet to a few healthy dishes.

Keep Busy with Busy Work

Since sensory information affects our appetite, it makes
sense that our visual-memory also affects our appetite.
Harvey and colleagues from the Flinders University in
Australia published a 2005 study in the “British Journal of
Health Psychology” on the influence of working memory and
appetite. The researchers found that keeping the visual-
spatial working memory system occupied prevented food
images from producing cravings. This could presumably
work for all forms of hunger. I know that I have been so
busy before that I didn’t realize I was hungry. So if you
want reduce your hunger, limit your exposure to foods and
keep your mind occupied.


Continue reading   Next page

Comment on this article.

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