It’s normal to feel hungry if you don’t eat for a few hours, since your body relies on food for energy. However, it becomes abnormal if you get hungry soon after a meal, something could be going on with your health. You may be suffering from polyphagia, which is the medical term for extreme hunger. You may need to see your doctor.
Possible Causes of Frequent Hunger
Your body turns the sugar in food into fuel called glucose. But for diabetics, glucose can’t reach your cells, so your body urinates it out instead causing the urge to eat over and over. Those with type 1 diabetes may eat large amounts of food and still lose weight. In addition to constant hunger, other symptoms of diabetes include:
- The need to urinate more often
- Extreme thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal
- Tingling or pain in your hands or feet
Low blood sugar
Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia occurs when the glucose in your body drops to very low levels. It’s a common concern for people with diabetes, but other health problems can cause it, too. They include kidney disorders, hepatitis and problems with your adrenal or pituitary glands. Other symptoms of low blood sugar are:
- Feeling like your heart is skipping a beat
- Slurred speech
- Pale skin
- Difficulty walking
- Tingling around the mouth
Lack of sleep
If you don’t get enough night rest, it can affect the hormones in your body that control hunger. People who don’t get proper sleep have a bigger appetite. You’re also more likely to crave high-fat, high-calorie foods when you’re tired. Other symptoms of sleep deprivation are:
- Weight gain
- Change in mood
- A hard time staying alert
- More accidents
- Trouble staying awake during the day
- Weight gain
When you’re stressed up, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This surges up your feeling of hunger. Most stressed people also foods cravings high in sugar, fat, or both. It may be your body’s attempt to “shut off” the part of your brain that causes you to worry.
Other symptoms may include:
- Sleep problems
- Angry outbursts
- Upset stomach
Not all foods are filling. Foods that check hunger best are high in protein and fiber. Like fish, lean meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Foods like pastries, white bread, many packaged meals, and fast foods are laden with fat and unhealthy carbs, but deficient in protein and fiber. If you eat a lot of these, you could find yourself hungry again soon after a meal, causing you to eat more than you should.
READ ALSO: Foods That Can Fight Sugar Cravings
Other signs that your food choices don’t fill you up include:
- Stomach pain
- Small, hard stools
Some drugs like antihistamines can make you want to eat more than usual. Other drugs like antidepressants called SSRIs, steroids, some diabetes medicines, and antipsychotic drugs may make you hungry easily.
If you’ve gained weight since you started the medication, it could be that the medicine is making you feel hungry. Talk to you doctor to find out what other drugs might work best for you.
Pregnancy causes a huge hike in appetite. This is your body’s way of making sure the baby gets enough nutrients to grow healthy.
Most women gain between 4 and 6 pounds during the first trimester and then 1 pound a week during the second and third trimester. Other signs that you might be pregnant are:
- The need to urinate often
- Missed period
- Sore and bigger breasts or breasts
Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that makes hormones which control the rate at which every organ in your body functions. If your thyroid is working too quickly, you could have hyperthyroidism. Other problem are:
- Fast pulse
- Feeling nervous
- Sweating more than normal
- Muscle weakness
- Thirst even after drinking
Most people drink sugar-free soda to lose weight. However, the fake sugar in these drinks tells your brain to expect calories it can use for fuel. When your body doesn’t get any, you become hungry and your body tells you to get calories from food instead.
If diet soda is making you hungry, other symptoms can include:
- Weight gain
- Sugar cravings