Nutritionist reveals 5 reasons you're always hungry

Refined carbs cause a spike in insulin and make you feel hungry again faster. Photo / Getty
Refined carbs cause a spike in insulin and make you feel hungry again faster. Photo / Getty

Despite the best of intentions, when hunger strikes, it can feel almost impossible not to give in.

You may have eaten a healthy, filling lunch, but find yourself succumbing to that urge to raid the fridge not long after your meal. So why are you always hungry?

Head Nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson, from natural health retailer NutriCentre, spoke to the Daily Mail about five key reasons why many of us find ourselves with a seemingly insatiable appetite.

1. You're overloading on carbs

Tucking into a big pasta for dinner might be the reason you wake up starving, and keep feeling hungry even after breakfast.

According to Wilkinson, when we eat a large amount of carbohydrates in one sitting, they are quickly absorbed into the body and turned into sugar.

This spike of sugars causes a surge of insulin to be released, the hormone which stimulates cells to pick up glucose.

As all the sugar is removed from our blood, this triggers hunger and cravings for more carbs.

Wilkinson suggests switching to unrefined carbs or opting for meals with less refined carbs.

Choose foods that will be more slowly absorbed, such as kumara, brown rice or quinoa. Eat them with a good portion of protein and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli.

2. You really are eating for two

It's expected that appetite will increase during pregnancy. Wilkinson says while you don't need to fight against your hunger, it is important to make healthy choices.

Stock your cupboards with nutrient-rich, wholesome foods and prepare healthy snacks in advance to avoid bingeing on processed foods and sugary treats when hunger pains strike.

3. You're actually thirsty

Feelings of hunger can often be masking thirst. We feel like we need something to eat when actually all we need is a glass of water.

Drinking water between meals can also generally make you feel more full, helping you to better manage your appetite.

However, Wilkinson warns that water shouldn't be consumed in large amounts before, during or after a meal because it dilutes digestive juices and can have a negative effect on digestion.

4. You're tired

Lack of sleep can have a direct impact on hunger and the amount we eat. Not getting enough hours of shut eye has been found to reduce levels of the hormone leptin, which inhibits hunger by increasing the hormone ghrelin, responsible for stimulating our desire to eat.

This is one reason why poor sleep can lead to weight gain.

5. It's that time of the month

Research has found that a woman's appetite and subsequent intake of food increases during the second half of their menstrual cycle.

It's important to focus on protein-rich foods at this time to help balance blood sugar levels and manage heightened cravings.

Caffeine and alcohol also have a significant effect on hormone imbalance, so it's wise to keep these to a minimum.

- nzherald.co.nz

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