Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to eat.
Unfortunately, some people may feel hungry all the time, even if they eat regular meals. If this sounds like you, there are several possible reasons why this could be the case.
This article helps explain why you’re always hungry and what you can do about it.
It likely due to your diet
If you always feel hungry, it’s time to have a hard look at your daily diet.
The biggest mistake most people make is eating too many refined carbs.
Refined carbs (also called simple carbs or processed carbs) have been stripped of nearly all their fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which is why they’re considered “empty” calories. Because they lack these nutrients, refined carbs are among the least filling foods.
Common types of refined carbs include:
- White bread, bagels, and tortillas made with white flour
- White pasta
- White rice
- Breakfast cereals
- Baked goods like cakes and muffins
- Sodas and fruit juices
When you eat refined carbs, they create a short burst of energy that can drop very quickly. On the other hand, complex carbs provide you with a slower, sustained release of energy.
Another big reason why you’re always hungry is your diet is low in protein.
Protein is an essential nutrient for your overall health, wellbeing, and appetite.
Research shows protein can help curb your appetite by increasing the production of hormones that keep you fuller for longer and blunting hunger hormones (1, 2).
Summary If you’re hungry all the time, it’s likely because your diet is high in refined carbs (processed carbs) and does provide you with enough protein.
What can you do about it?
If your diet is high in refined carbs, it’s time to swap them for more complex carbs.
Complex carbs are unprocessed, which means they contain much more fiber. Fiber keeps you fuller for longer by controlling hormones that affect your appetite and helping food move slowly through your gut — releasing energy at a more controlled rate (3).
They’re also packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, which are great for your health.
Great sources of complex carbs include:
- Whole grains: Wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oats
- High-fiber fruits: Apples, berries, pears, and bananas
- High-fiber veggies: Broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, and sweet potatoes
- Legumes: Beans, soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils
Next, make sure you’re eating a variety of protein-rich foods — ideally at every meal.
Great sources of protein include:
Lastly, make sure you have various healthy fats in your diet, ideally with each meal.
Healthy fats can help curb your appetite by slowing down the rate that food is digested. This means your meals will have more time digest, and release energy more slowly.
Great sources of fats include:
- Peanut butter and other types of nut butter
- Nuts and seeds.
- Whole eggs — especially the yolk
- Olive oil
Aside from your diet, other ways you can curb your appetite include:
- Getting at least 7–8 hours of sleep
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating more slowly and chewing thoroughly
- Avoid distractions while eating
- Finding ways to minimize stress — as stress can raise your appetite
Summary If you’re always hungry, try swapping refined carbs for more complex carbs, like the examples listed above. Also, try including more protein and healthy fats in your meals.
Blog written by
Ryan Raman MHSC, RD