It happens to all of us: There are days when whatever we eat and however much we eat, we feel like bottomless pits. Cravings that seem endless make us wonder, “Why am I so hungry?” “. Whether due to causes such as a high blood sugar diet or lack of sleep, a large appetite can be difficult to manage. Not only does it cause painful feelings of hunger, but also problems such as low productivity and low mood. Let’s look at the potential reasons why you may be experiencing hunger pangs, as well as ways to manage them.
What are food cravings?
Food cravings are a feeling of discomfort in the stomach caused by increased stomach acid. Ghrelin and motilin are the main hormones that cause the feeling of hunger, both in the stomach and in the head. They go off when you haven’t eaten in a while, to get your attention and prompt you to seek food. If you are hungry, the accumulated stomach acid begins to irritate the stomach lining, which leads to a burning sensation and usually other symptoms such as fatigue, nervousness, dizziness and low blood pressure. mood (also called “food cravings”).
Causes of food cravings
What Causes Food Cravings? As mentioned above, the feeling of hunger is mainly due to the effects of “hunger hormones”, in particular motilin and ghrelin. Hunger hormones signal your stomach to release enzymes that prepare your digestive system to metabolize food, but if you don’t eat anything, these enzymes cause symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract that can be painful. Ghrelin then signals your brain that you are hungry, causing more symptoms if you ignore your nagging appetite.
You’re more likely to feel particularly hungry and experience aches or cravings if you find yourself in any of these situations:
– Skipping meals and dieting, which can lead to calorie deprivation that stimulates your appetite. (Studies show this to be especially true for cheap, energy-dense, appetizing foods.)
– Recovering from an illness, especially if you have had vomiting and loss of appetite which has led you to not eat enough for a few days.
– Sudden changes in blood sugar or insulin resistance due to factors such as a highly processed diet with many high glycemic load foods, such as added sugars and refined grains.
– Lack of sleep, which can increase cortisol levels. This often leads to cravings, especially for junk foods high in sugar, carbs, sodium, and fat.
– Alcohol consumption, as alcohol appears to stimulate nerve cells in the hypothalamus of the brain which increase appetite.
– Dehydration, because thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger.
– Overtraining (too much exercise), which causes the body to seek extra energy due to fatigue.
– Anxiety or depression, which can trigger emotional eating.
– Exposure to tempting foods and advertisements, which tend to stimulate our appetite.
The feeling of hunger usually results in a feeling of emptiness or burning in the stomach. You may also experience the following symptoms:
– Growling stomach
– craving for sweets, salt and fat
– Tiredness and weakness
– symptoms of anxiety
– Lack of concentration
How long does the feeling of hunger last? In general, until you eat!
However, if you fast intentionally (for example, by practicing intermittent fasting, which involves not eating for about 16 hours), you may feel hungry at first, but then fade away. Your body may get used to fasting over time, and you may feel less hungry. Some people who practice extended multi-day fasts also report that feelings of hunger diminish after the first day or so.
Relationship with regimes
Dieting usually involves calorie restriction, which can be good in the short term if you have excess weight to lose, but in the long term it can mess with your metabolism and appetite. By depriving yourself of too many calories and nutrients, your body can go into “starvation” mode, which means your metabolism slows down and you feel hungrier than usual. If you’ve recently lost weight and are now always hungry, it’s likely a sign that you’re not consuming enough energy (ie, eating enough) to meet your needs. Be sure to fuel yourself by eating at least three meals a day that include protein, carbohydrate fiber, and healthy fats. If you’re active or pregnant, you probably need to eat even more often to avoid cravings and low energy.
How to overcome them
How to stop cravings? Here are some suggestions:
– Eat balanced meals: This helps prevent your blood sugar from skyrocketing rapidly and your body then releasing a lot of insulin, which can lead to cravings soon after. Try to have meals that include protein, complex carbs/fiber, and healthy fats. This combination can increase satiety and prevent the release of ghrelin. Some of the best foods to manage a big appetite include foods high in fiber like vegetables, beans, and whole grains, protein like eggs, meat, protein powder, and yogurt, and nuts and seeds. .
– Stick to a regular meal schedule: Eat about every three or four hours to prevent your stomach from staying empty for too long.
– Stay metabolically healthy: Take steps to prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and eating a low-glycemic diet.
– Get enough sleep: Make sure you get seven to nine hours of sleep a night to avoid fatigue-related cravings.
– Avoid over-exercising: While exercise is beneficial for hormonal balance and metabolic health, excess can lead to more frequent food cravings.
– Drink lots of water and do not abuse alcohol: Drink water and fluids throughout the day. If you feel thirsty and hungry at the same time, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes to see if the feeling of hunger subsides.
– Manage stress: Stress, boredom, exhaustion, and other emotional issues can make you hungry for comfort. Find ways to eat more mindfully and avoid using food to soothe your emotional issues.
When to consult a doctor
If you take medications on a daily basis, such as antidepressants or diabetes medications, ask your doctor if increased hunger and food cravings could be a side effect of the medications you are taking. Although feeling hungry is normal and usually not a problem, don’t ignore it if you also feel sick, nauseous, or have diarrhea and/or a fever. See a gastroenterologist if your hunger issues are also accompanied by other new symptoms.
Are “food cravings” the same as hunger pains? Yes, both describe discomfort in the stomach area when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you feel increased hunger for other reasons. Some of the reasons you may have frequent food cravings include skipping meals, dieting, eating sugar or carbohydrates that raise your insulin levels, diabetes, lack of sleep, stress and taking certain medications. To control them, eat every two hours, favoring balanced meals. Don’t follow fad diets, exercise too much, drink enough water, and prioritize sleep.