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Why we feel hungry after eating and how to manage it.

In the previous blog we explored the reasons why we feel hungry. As we discussed, this all came down to three main factors: having an empty stomach, the brain triggering hormones when we see calorie rich food and the digestive system becoming empty triggering hormones.


Here we shall explore four factors that make us feel hungry and how we can manage this better.


  1. You're not eating enough protein.

Consuming protein is important for appetite control. Protein has hunger-reducing properties that may help you automatically consume fewer calories during the day. It works by increasing the production of hormones that signal fullness and reducing the levels of hormones that stimulate that hunger feeling.


In one study, 14 men with excess weight, who consumed 25% of their calories from protein for 12 weeks, experienced a 50% reduction in their desire for late-night snacking, compared with a group that consumed less protein. Additionally, those with a higher protein intake reported greater fullness throughout the day and fewer obsessive thoughts about food


2. You're not sleeping enough.

Getting adequate sleep is extremely important for your health. Sleep is required for the proper functioning of your brain and immune system, and getting enough of it is associated with a lower risk of several chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. Sleeping enough is a factor in appetite control, as it helps regulate ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone. Lack of sleep leads to higher ghrelin levels, which is why you may feel hungrier when you are sleep deprived.


In one study, 15 people who were sleep deprived for only 1 night reported being significantly more hungry and chose 14% larger portion sizes, compared with a group that slept for 8 hours. Getting enough sleep also helps ensure adequate levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes the feelings of fullness.


3. You're not drinking enough water.


Proper hydration is incredibly important for your overall health. Drinking enough water has several health benefits including: promoting brain and heart health and optimising exercise performance. Water also keeps your skin and digestive system healthy.


Water is also quite filling and has the potential to reduce appetite when consumed before meals. In one study, 14 people who drank 2 cups of water before a meal ate almost 600 fewer calories than those who didn’t drink any water at all.


Feelings of thirst can sometimes be mistaken for feelings of hunger. If you’re always hungry, it may help to drink a glass or two of water to find out if you’re just thirsty or not. Eating lots of water-rich foods found in fruits and vegetables will also contribute to your hydration needs.


4. You're eating too fast.


The rate at which you eat may play a role in how hungry you are feeling. Several studies have shown that fast eaters have greater appetites and a tendency to overeat at meals, compared with slow eaters.


In one study involving 30 women, fast eaters consumed 10% more calories at a meal and reported significantly less fullness, compared with slow eaters. Another study compared the effects of eating rates in those with diabetes. Those who ate a meal slowly became full more quickly and reported less hunger 30 minutes after the meal.


These effects are partly due to the lack of chewing and reduced awareness that occur when you eat too fast, both of which are necessary to alleviate feelings of hunger. Eating slowly, and chewing thoroughly, gives your body and brain more time to release anti-hunger hormones and convey fullness signals.


To help reduce the feeling of being hungry make sure that:

  • Eat more protein (both plant and animal sources of protein)

  • Ensure regular sleep for around 8 hours

  • Drink more water, particularly before meals

  • Slow down when eating and ensure plenty of chewing





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