Confession time. I’m a foodie. I love food and can never get enough of it. There are times I’m super hungry around 1am when I’m working. Thanks to technology and several restaurants that offer food delivery services, it is now more easy than ever to just go ahead and order some snacks home. But then again, there are times during the day when I’ve had a sumptuous meal only to find myself hungry after an hour or so.
There are several reasons why we constantly feel hungry.
- Not enough – when you’ve skipped that crucial breakfast because you’ve been late for work or simply because there was nothing interesting to eat (yes, many people use this excuse too!), you feel more hungry. That’s because your body has faced a long 8 to 9 hours without food and craves for a wholesome refill. Denying it leads to the body asking for more, every few minutes. One cannot undermine the importance of breakfast in a healthy lifestyle. It can well be the biggest meal of the day, if need be.
- Too much to drink and nothing to eat – Meetings that call for multiple rounds of tea, coffee breaks with friends, juices and soft drinks while accompanying friends all fill up the stomach with excess calories but leave you not feeling full. The opposite happens when you eat sprouts, whole grain bread or raw veggies that leave you full for hours because the body takes more time to break them down. No wonder it’s said that spinach actually has negative calories. Which means that it takes more calories for our body to burn a bunch of spinach than what it provides.
- Sensory overdose – Frequent exposure to food stimuli to the eyes and nose trigger hunger pangs from the stomach even when it doesn’t need food. The smell of freshly baked bread, fritters or a pie wafting out of the office canteen, the cafeteria where you’re waiting for a client that has put up close-up shots of your favorite burgers, the videos on social media that show sumptuous food being made so easily, all entice you to eat something.
- Brain vs stomach – Have you noticed how you feel more hungry just before a crucial meeting or even when you had that final exam? When the brain is overworked or over stressed, it demands more food to feel better. A lot many people eat something to feel better when they are nervous or anxious, just to feel better. And at times like these, the feel-good foods like chocolate that release happy hormones like endorphins, fruit juices and soft drinks laden with corn syrup are your first choice just because you want to feel good.
- Water or food? – Not just kids, even grown-ups confuse thirst for hunger and eat something to satiate that feeling. The symptoms of lack of water are dizziness, dehydration and a feeling of tiredness, all of which could trick you into feeling you’re hungry. Track your water intake adequately. Drinking enough water curbs those pangs that can be confused for being hunger. Drinking more water also suppresses appetite and makes you feel full for long. Since water has no calories, sipping on water when you’ve already had food, proves highly beneficial than going for that chocolate bar or the soft drink.
- Medical conditions – Your body’s frequent hunger pangs could be a symptom of certain underlying medical condition like diabetes where low blood sugar results in food cravings because the glucose from food doesn’t reach the cells and you pee it out instead.
Extreme stress, lack of sleep, too many angry outbursts cause a strong craving for food. If you’ve been put on anti-depressants, keep a tab on your hunger pangs. Antihistamines and Anti psychotic drugs also create a need to eat more.
- Wrong foods- Depending upon the nature of your work, body structure, metabolism, meal timings and appetite, one must ideally choose the right combination of foods. If your work requires frequent physical activity, you may feel hungry often. If you have very little time for meals, you tend to pack a very light and easy meal that does not suffice your body’s requirement. Foods made of refined flour, fried food and those processed in a blender like purees and smoothies get digested quickly and leave you asking for more. Make sure to include balanced portions of carbs, protein, nuts, raw veggies and water in your meal plan. Munch on sliced cucumber, carrots or fruit in between meals. Also, foods eaten straight out of packets or cans have been overly processed for longer shelf life, have limited portions and don’t quite suffice.
- Over-activity- When you’re exercising or indulging in strenuous physical activities on a regular basis for long duration’s of the day, your body burns a lot of calories. In turn, it needs to replenish the burnt energy with a continuous supply of food. If your work demands you eat more and frequently, carry more than one meal box with you along with foods that keep you full for long. Sports persons, construction workers, farmers, factory workers all pose a higher need for food.
- Nothing to do- If you check, you always feel more hungry when you’re at home, while traveling or on a picnic. Think of all those heaps of food you polished when you’re holidaying or at friend’s parties. That’s because when there no serious work to do, the brain triggers hunger signals to your stomach. Keeping yourself involved in some activity that distracts your mind away from food, helps you stay away from being hungry all the time. Families tend to eat away large quantities of food while traveling that they would when at home. Feeling bored also pulls towards the fridge to pull out something to eat. You also have more time to think about food than usual.
Whatever your brain says and your body listens, you always have that third referee of your conscience which tells you when to listen to whom. Too much or too little, food must be had in required portions or you end up thinking about weight than the pleasure that it gave you
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