A Feeling of discomfort and weakness caused by a lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat. This is the definition of hunger in the Oxford dictionary, but it doesn’t tell us why or how we are hungry. One problem that many people have is the inability to fulfill the hunger that they have or are feeling; they eat but are hungry soon after, they drink but hunger continues. They ask themselves why am I always hungry?
A good place to start is to look at hunger a little more in-depth. We eat to provide our bodies with the fuel to do the daily task. For example, we wake up, get ready, and go to work. Along with those basic activities, food is the fuel we use to do extra activities like a workout, go on a hike, or clean our car. Everybody has a recommended amount of daily calories that they need to take in to complete the everyday tasks, but depending on how active they are the number of calories can be adjusted to fit your activity levels, this is the BMR or Basel Metabolic Rate.
Ok, get to the point... what makes me hungry?
Well, there are several factors that influence our appetite including an empty stomach, the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin, social factors, and our level of activity.
The first thing that affects our appetite on a daily basis is our empty stomach. Upon waking in the morning, appetite can be suppressed with coffee, tea, or water, but hunger will return once we are up and active for the day. The more active we are, the hungrier we become. If you are a first thing in the morning "worker outer", our body is using stored energy and will need to be replenished soon after to keep your body going throughout the day. This is where we get light-headed and hypoglycemic or low in sugar.
Then we have Leptin and Ghrelin. These are hormones that our body secretes to stimulate or suppress our appetite. Ghrelin is an appetite stimulator. It is released in our stomach and sends signals of hunger. This is impacted by an individual’s age, gender, blood sugar levels, and leptin levels. Then we have Leptin. Leptin is an appetite suppressor and is stored and secreted from our fat cells and provides the feeling of fullness.
One of the most overlooked aspects of appetite is the social factor, this can affect what, when, and where we eat, without realizing it we may alter your daily diet/appetite with one meal. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert? We leave the restaurant stuffed and then our next meal or two is thrown off. These kinds of irregular meals can affect our hunger levels for an entire day.
Get More Sleep: Getting the right amount of sleep is a requirement for all-round better health. When you get the right amount of sleep your brain function, immune system, and body all function better. Sleep also affects your Ghrelin levels, with lack of sleep your body produces more Ghrelin and leads to you feeling hungrier more regularly. To keep these levels under control we need to be hit the 8-hour mark of uninterrupted sleep.
Eat More Protein: One of the major benefits of eating more protein is that offers a higher-satiety response than carbs and fats offer. Satiety is the full feeling that we get upon finishing a meal, each food offers your body a different response and protein tends to offer the greatest response.
Drink more water: Proper hydration is one of the most important things for our overall health, Water is quite filling and can help to control your appetite prior to a meal. Due to how important water is to the human body lack of water could result in a hungry feeling.