Are You Always Hungry After Eating? Here Are the Real Reasons

Updated on June 19th, 2021
Feeling Hungry After Eating

Being a food lover is different, and a constant urge to eat something is a different feeling altogether. Anyone can have this constant desire to try something new or experiment with multiple cuisines, while there can be someone who is always in need of some food to indulge on.

Usually, individuals who fall in the latter category feel hungry even after having their meals. If you are also famished continuously and are always ready to eat a horse, then here are some reasons you ever feel so!

Causes and solutions

There are various reasons why few people feel hungry after a meal.

1. Meal Composition

For beginners, it could be due to the nutritional arrangement of the meal. Meals that consist of a more significant proportion of protein tend to cause greater fullness feelings than meals with more generous proportions of fat or carbs  — even when their calorie counts are akin [1].

Various studies have shown that higher protein meals are better at stimulating the release of fullness hormones, such as cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and peptide YY (PYY) [2]. Also, if our diet lacks fiber, we may find ourselves feeling hungry more often.

Fiber is a kind of carb that takes longer to digest and slow the stomach’s emptying rate. When it’s digested in the lower digestive tract, it also promotes the release of appetite-suppressing hormones like PYY and GLP-1 [3].

Foods that are rich in protein include meats, such as chicken breast, shrimp, and turkey. Meanwhile, high-fiber foods include vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains. If you notice that you are hungry after a meal and see that the meals tend to lack fiber and protein, try incorporating more fiber and protein-rich foods into the diet.

2. Stretch Receptors

Aside from meal composition, our stomach has stretch receptors that play a crucial role in building up feelings of fullness during and immediately after a meal. The stretch receptors detect how much our stomach expands during a meal and send signals directly to our brain to induce feelings of fullness and reduce our appetite [4].

These stretch receptors do not rely on the nutritional composition of the food. Instead, they depend on the entire volume of the meal. However, feelings of fullness made by the stretch receptors do not last long. So while they may help us eat less during a meal and shortly after, they don’t favor long-term feelings of fullness.

If you do not find yourself feeling full during or immediately after a meal, try including more foods that are low in calories but high in volume.

These foods, such as most fresh fruits, vegetables, shrimp, air-popped popcorn,  turkey, and chicken breast, tend to have greater water or air content. Also, drinking water with or before meals adds volume to the meal and can further support fullness.

Though many of these low calorie, high-volume foods promote short-term, immediate fullness through the stretch receptors, they tend to be high in fiber or protein, both of which promote feelings of fullness long afterward by promoting the release of fullness hormones.

[Read: How to manage Hunger Hormones ]

3. Leptin Resistance

In some instances, hormonal issues may explain why some individuals feel hungry after eating. Leptin is the major hormone that signals feelings of fullness to your brain. It’s made of fat cells, so its blood levels tend to increase among individuals that carry more fat mass.

However, the issue is that sometimes leptin doesn’t work, and it should in the brain, notably in a few individuals with obesity. This is generally known as leptin resistance. This means that although there’s enough leptin in the blood, our brain doesn’t recognize it as well and continues to think that we’re hungry — even after a meal.

Though leptin resistance is a complex issue, studies indicate that reducing sugar intake, getting in regular physical activity, getting adequate sleep, and increasing fiber intake can reduce leptin resistance.

Behavioral and lifestyle factors

Aside from the vital factors above, several behavioral factors can explain why we feel hungry after eating, including:

1. Being distracted while eating

Research shows that people who eat distracted feel less full and have a stronger desire to eat throughout the day. If you generally eat distracted, try practicing mindfulness to recognize better your body’s signals.

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2. Eating too quickly

Research indicates that fast eaters tend to feel less full than slow eaters due to a lack of awareness and chewing, associated with feelings of fullness. If you’re a quick eater, aim to chew the food more thoroughly.

3. Feeling stressed

Stress raises the hormone cortisol, which can promote cravings and hunger. If you find that you are often stressed, try incorporating meditation or yoga into your weekly regimen.

4. Exercising a lot

Individuals who work out a lot tend to have faster metabolisms and greater appetites. If you work out a lot, you may need to consume more food to fuel your sessions.

5. A lack of sleep 

Sufficient sleep is necessary for regulating hormones, like ghrelin, levels of which tend to be higher among sleep-deprived individuals. Try limiting blue light exposure at night or setting a healthy sleep regimen to get sufficient sleep.

6. Not eating adequate food

In some situations, we may feel hungry after eating simply because we didn’t eat enough during the day.

7. Insulin resistance and high blood sugar 

Insulin resistance and having high blood sugar levels can significantly increase your hunger levels.

Bottom Line

Feeling hungry after eating is a common problem for several people globally. Often it’s the result of an inadequate diet that lacks fiber or protein. However, it could be due to your daily lifestyle or hormone issues, such as leptin resistance.

If you often find yourself hungry after taking food, try implementing some of the science-based suggestions above to curb your appetite.

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