You’ve just devoured a hearty breakfast, yet you’re already thinking about what’s for lunch. Your bag is usually packed with snacks to combat those inevitable hunger pangs and if someone invites you out for dinner, you can bet you’ve already memorised the menu.
But, why are you always hungry? You may blame it on being a self-confessed foodie or just plain greedy, but there could be a genuine reason behind those stomach rumbles. Here’s six reasons why you may be suffering from a serious case of hangry.
1) You’re not getting enough protein
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: protein is an essential part of everyone’s diet, not just bodybuilders and gym bunnies. Products packed with protein have been proven to suppress hunger, keeping you fuller for longer and meaning you’re less likely to feel hungry between meals. And, it’s super easy to up your protein intake. Foods such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs are full of the stuff and, vegans, you needn’t miss out either! Beans, lentils and tofu are all great sources of plant-based protein and can be easily incorporated into your meals, with easy recipes such as tofu curries and bean stews. Sweet tooth? Grab yourself a Carb Killa® bar and pack in over 20g of protein – easy and delicious!
2) You’re eating too many refined carbs
Ah, carbs. Who doesn’t love a good carbohydrate? Bread, pasta, cakes – all delicious, right? But refined carbs, (also known as non-impact carbs) are digested quickly by our bodies, meaning we’re left feeling hungry soon after we’re eaten them. Opt for non-impact carbs such as brown bread, rice and pasta and fruit and veggies, as these will sustain you for longer and curb your hunger cravings. You can find out more about the difference between impact and non-impact carbs here.
3) You’re not consuming enough fat
Yep, you read that right! A low-fat diet may seem like the answer when it comes to weight loss, but fat plays a key role in keeping you fuller for longer and is essential to a healthy, balanced diet. Due to its slow gastro-internal transit time, healthy fats take longer to digest, meaning they sustain you for longer. Without fat in your diet, you’re likely to feel hungrier. Don’t be fooled – fat isn’t necessarily the enemy. There are so many nutritious high-fat foods you can add into your diet that have numerous health benefits and will also keep you fuller for longer. Avocado, olives and full-fat yoghurts are great examples and are all easy to incorporate into your diet. Avo on toast, anyone?
4) You’re not drinking enough water
Does water stop hunger? Yes, it does! An obvious one but important all the same. Staying hydrated is so important for your general health and well-being and, a lot of the time, our brains confuse thirst with hunger, making us believe we’re hungry when infact we’re probably dehydrated. Water is also incredibly filling and can reduce appetite when consumed before meals. Eating lots of water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can also aid hydration and reduce hunger.
5) You exercise a lot
Do you have an active job? Are you happiest in the gym or playing a sport? If you’re naturally a very active person then, it’s not rocket science – make sure you’re eating an adequate amount to support your busy lifestyle. Research suggests that those who regularly take part in high intensity exercise or activity may have faster metabolisms, meaning they burn more calories than those who live sedentary lifestyles. So, if you’re always on the go, be sure to eat fulfilling, filling foods that will keep your stomach satisfied and provide you with the energy you need to continue to stay active.
6) You’re drinking your calories
Smoothies, protein shakes, soups – all great, easy ways to ease your appetite. However, if you tend to consume a lot of liquid-based foods, or drink a lot of soft drinks or alcohol, consider whether you’re consuming too much of your calorie intake via liquids. Liquids pass through the stomach quicker than solid foods, making you hungrier sooner than if you were to eat food. You can also drink quicker than you can eat, which also means your appetite is more likely to creep on you sooner. If you’re set on cutting back on the cravings, choose solid, wholesome foods and reserve liquid-based foods for snacks or pair them with solids.