Why do I want to eat all the time?

If hunger does not leave you even after a fresh meal and you want to eat all day - it is possible that the body warns you about a health problem.

Our body gets its energy from food - so if you haven't eaten for a few hours, feeling hungry is normal. But if you feel hungry all the time - there may be something wrong with your health and you should consult your doctor.

A condition characterized by excessive hunger and an increase in appetite no matter how much you eat is called polyphagia and it is one of the three main symptoms of diabetes (Polyphagia - increased hunger, Polydipsia - increased thirst, Polyuria - increased urination).

However, there may be other explanations for constant hunger - here are the most common reasons why you always have little.

 

1 Diabetes

Your body converts the sugar in food into a 'fuel' called glucose. But if you have diabetes, glucose does not reach the cells in your body because it lacks the insulin that helps glucose to enter them. Your body does not receive the energy it needs and you want to eat again.

In addition to increased appetite, the following symptoms may occur in diabetes:

  • Increased thirst;
  • Frequent urination;
  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Long-lasting ulcers, bruises, wounds;
  • Tingling and / or pain in the hands or feet;
  • Fatigue;
  • Dry skin;
  • More common infectious diseases. 
 

2 Low blood sugar

Or Hypoglycaemia occurs when glucose levels in the body fall to very low levels. It is a common problem in people with diabetes, but it can also be caused by other health problems such as hepatitis, kidney problems, tumors of the pancreas (insulinomas) and problems with the adrenal glands or pituitary gland.

In severe cases, people with hypoglycaemia may feel drunk - problems with speech and movement.  

In case of hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar is caused by a feeling of hunger. In response, the body releases glucose from the liver to normalize it. In case of hypoglycaemia, you should eat something sweet when feeling hungry (fast carbohydrates - orange juice, a teaspoon of honey, etc.) to quickly raise glucose levels.

In addition to the feeling of hunger, the following symptoms may occur in case of hypoglycaemia:

  • Sweating;
  • Tremor;
  • Dizziness;
  • Pale skin;
  • Fast heartbeat;
  • Confusion;
  • Slight irritability;
  • Aggression;
  • Tingling around the mouth;
  • Drowsiness.
 

What are the causes of hypoglycaemia?

The reasons can be various, here are some of the most common:

  • Insufficient carbohydrates (skipped meals, low carb diets, etc.);
  • Unplanned physical activity, or more precisely, improper diet before and / or after them. Read more about pre- and post-workout nutrition HERE;
  • Too much insulin;
  • Use of antidiabetic drugs (sulphonylureas and meglitinide);
  • Use of other (non-diabetic) medicines (ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and some antibiotics);
  • Alcohol abuse.
 

3 Lack of sleep

Insufficient rest can affect the production of hormones that control the onset of satiety. People who lack sleep have a greater appetite and have a harder time feeling full. Also, if you are tired, you are more likely to choose a diet rich in fat and calories. You can read more about the types of sleep and what happens to us during sleep HERE.

Other consequences of possible sleep deprivation include:

  • Difficulty maintaining concentration;
  • Mood swings;
  • Clumsiness
  • Drowsiness during the day;
  • Weight gain.
 

4 Stress

When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. It increases your feeling of hunger.

Many people crave a high-sugar and / or high-fat diet. If you notice this, you may not be short of energy or nutrients, but your body is trying to "shut down" the part of your brain that worries you.

Other possible symptoms of stress are:

  • Outbreaks of anger, intolerance;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headaches;
  • Sleep problems;
  • Abdominal disorders.
 

5 Diet

Not all dishes give you the same feeling of satiety. Hunger is best reduced high protein productssuch as lean meat, fish, dairy products, or high-fiber products. Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

Also the "good" fatin nuts, fish and in oils, can both lower your cholesterol and make you feel better after a meal.

The feeling of satiety gradually arises - so if you enjoy the food without rushing, you will eat less. Pay attention to what is on your plate, not on the TV or phone…

Avoid white flour products, ready meals, semi-finished products, Fast Food, as they usually do not absorb all the nutrients you need, but you can absorb too much salt, sugar or synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers, dyes… Try to cook yourself using fresh or quick-frozen products - it will be both healthier and tastier.

 

6 Medicines

Some medicines may make you want to eat more than usual. Antihistamines, antidepressants (SSRIs - Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), steroids, some medicines used to treat diabetes and antipsychotics.

If you have started taking any medication and are gaining weight at the same time, it is possible that these medications are causing you to feel hungry. Talk to your doctor - your doctor may prescribe other medicines that will not have this side effect.

 

7 Pregnancy

Many expectant mothers notice a large increase in appetite - your body tries to ensure that your baby gets enough nutrients as he or she grows up.

Most women gain 2-3 kilograms in the first 3 months of pregnancy and then about 500 g per week.

Signs that you may be pregnant include:

  • Missed periods;
  • Morning sickness. Eighty-five percent of women experience nausea in the morning during pregnancy
  • Frequent urination. During pregnancy, hormonal changes increase blood circulation through the kidneys. As a result, the bladder fills up faster and you need to urinate more often
  • Craving for specific products. When you become pregnant, your body needs to absorb extra nutrients and you start craving certain products - most often something sweet or salty;
  • Mood swings. Due to elevated hormone levels, pregnant women may be more emotional than usual and their mood may change rapidly several times a day.
  • Abdominal disorders. Usually - bloating or constipation;
  • The breasts get bigger and / or sore.
 

8 Thyroid problems

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. Increased thyroid hormone secretion affects virtually all of our body's systems. If you have an increased appetite but lose weight, it may be due to an increase in thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism).

In addition to increased appetite, the following symptoms may occur in hyperthyroidism:

  • Tachycardia and / or arrhythmia;
  • Increased sweating;
  • Increased emotionality (nervousness, irritability);
  • Body tremor (more common hand tremor);
  • Diarrhea;
  • Menstrual disorders;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Enlarged thyroid gland;
  • Weakness, muscle weakness;
  • Hair loss.
 

9 Zero cola and other 0 calorie drinks

To reduce calorie intake, it is often advisable to choose sugar-free drinks (or 0 calories) instead of carbonated sweetened drinks, as people usually consume too many “liquid” calories completely unintentionally with sweetened drinks (including packet juices). I also recommend it, but in some cases, sugar substitutes can make your brain wait for calories (energy) and if your body doesn't get it, it turns on the "hunger switch" and makes you feel hungry.

In this case, the following additional symptoms may also occur:

  • Headaches;
  • Craving for sweets (sugar);
  • Weight gain.
 

10 Dehydration

The feeling of hunger is often confused with thirst. Read more about the importance of water HERE.

Studies show that drinking a glass of water before or during a meal makes you feel full.

In most cases, the signs of dehydration are as follows:

  • Dry mouth;
  • Dizziness, headache;
  • Fatigue;
  • Less urine and / or darker urine color;
  • Constipation.
 

11 Physical activities

During physical activity, your body "burns" calories to get energy and be able to do what you do. Physical activity does not only mean heavy intensity training - also physical work, even a simple walk "burns" calories very well. As a result, your metabolism speeds up and after a while your body needs to regain energy reserves, leading to an increase in hunger.

 

In conclusion

If you are regularly hungry, look at your diet before you start worrying about the health problems described:

  • You include too much sugar in your diet (for example, with sweetened drinks and packet juices);
  • The amount of food you eat does not match your physical activity;
  • You skip breakfast or lunch;
  • You may actually be thirsty, not hungry;
  • Your meals are low in fiber;
  • Your meals are low in complex carbohydrates;
  • Your meals are low in protein;
  • You won't sleep enough.

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