When you eat, it is supposed to make you feel full. Most people feel hungry, make something to eat, eat it and then go on about their lives. For some people, this simple process is not quite as easy as it ought to be. Some people eat food and then feel hungry after eating again.
While this may seem odd, it is actually far more common than most people realize. Hunger is not actually controlled by just the stomach—there are many parts of your body that come into play. The pancreas, stomach, bloodstream, intestines and brain all have to work together to get the message to your mind that you are full. If one part of this circuit is not working properly, you may not be receiving the right signals after you have eaten. As a result, you may be feeling hungry after eating. This is especially true if you are not eating the right foods.
The Causes of Feeling Hungry After Eating
1. Thyroid Problems
There are certain thyroid problems that can cause you to feel unusually hungry. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes you to have an abnormally high metabolic rate. Basically, you have to eat more calories each day than someone else who is your size who does not have hyperthyroidism. If you have hyperthyroidism, your body is burning through the calories so that you constantly have to eat. You may suffer from an abnormally large appetite and frequent hunger.
2. You Don’t Eat Enough Fiber or Protein
Fiber is amazing for you. Insoluble and soluble fiber are the two types that you eat. One type forms a gel-like substance in your body so that nutrients can process completely and you feel fuller for longer. The other type binds with cholesterol and fats to speed them through your digestive system. Fiber and protein are both usefully for creating the hormones that suppress your appetite. If you are not eating enough food that contains adequate amounts of protein and fiber (such as processed food or sugary treats), then you may find yourself feeling hungry constantly. To remedy this, you just need to eat more foods that have fiber and protein in them.
3. Your Hormones
Your hormones are responsible for triggering a variety of different actions in your body. Estrogen replacement therapy, birth control and menopause are all known for changing your hunger response. In addition, corticosteroid hormones can also make you hungrier because they increase your blood sugar and change other hormones in your body. If hormones are the reason why you continue to feel hungry, talk to your doctor about changing or adjusting your medication.
When diabetes has not been diagnosed yet or is not properly managed, it can cause you to feel hungrier than normal. Diabetes causes problems with how your body regulates blood glucose and insulin. Insulin is known to reduce your appetite, so you may feel hungry after eating if your insulin is not being released properly.
5. You Skipped Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you do not eat breakfast or do not eat enough, you may feel hungry later on when you do eat. To prevent this from happening, make sure to eat breakfast and ideally choose a meal that is rich in fiber and protein.
Some medications can cause your appetite to increase. Some of the most common medications with this side effect include antidepressants, steroids, antihistamines and seizure medication. If you experience this symptom, make sure to talk to your doctor about it to see what your options are and how to treat your side effects.
When you are pregnant, you need slightly more food than normal to provide for the fetus. Once you are pregnant, hormones are released that stimulate your body to change and accommodate for the baby. Some of these hormones may also affect your appetite. You may have just eaten, but find yourself feeling hungry and craving certain snacks and foods. In some cases, hunger during pregnancy can be caused by gestational diabetes. Keep in mind that you do not have to eat for two while pregnant—one of those “two” is quite small, and you only need to eat slightly more food to provide for the baby.
One of the grossest causes of feeling hungry after eating is a tapeworm. While there are many different kinds of tapeworms, they tend to operate in similar ways. Often, people develop tapeworms after eating beef, fish or pork that was contaminated or under-cooked. The parasites enter your body before taking up residence in your intestines. They absorb the food you eat, which can cause you to become nutrient deficient. Go to your doctor and you can get treated for tapeworms. Interestingly, some Asian cultures once used tapeworms as a diet remedy. The tapeworm was eaten, and it was later treated after the individual felt like they lost enough weight. This is not a safe way to lose weight; don’t do it.
9. Emotional Reasons
Some people are known for being emotional eaters. Other than having some type of mental disorder or emotional eating problem, there are other mental factors that can cause you to eat more. Some people turn to comfort foods that are high in salt, fat or sugar when they are under stress. Stress can actually cause hunger pains to happen because cortisol and insulin are involved. If you are feeling hungry from an emotional reason, try to distract yourself. Some researchers have found that distractions reduce cravings, so you can see if this helps to solve your emotional eating problems.
10. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks destroy your tooth enamel and lead to hundreds or thousands of extra calories in your diet that are entirely unnecessary. Soft drinks can cause even more problems though. Soda, juice and drinks that are high in sugar can reduce blood flow in the part of your brain that regulates your appetite. In addition, fructose tricks your brain into believing that it needs more food. It basically hurts your body’s ability to make leptin, which is the hormone that your body needs to release to feel satiated.
11. You Need to Drink More Water
When your food has a low water content, it can end up making you feel hungry. Your stomach registers food according to its nutrient content and volume. Eating nutritious, water-filled foods like soup, fruits and vegetables can help you to feel fuller. Another option is to drink liquids like tea or water to help suppress your appetite. Drink a glass before you eat each meal, and bring a water bottle with you throughout the day so that you drink more.
Interestingly, your hunger pains may not actually be from hunger. Your body will often process thirst as hunger. When you feel hungry even after you have eaten, you could actually be dehydrated. Try drinking water and waiting 15 to 30 minutes. If your hunger goes away, then you may have just been dehydrated.
13. Stomach Problems
One obvious cause of hunger pains is a stomach issue. There are many different digestive problems that can cause you to feel hungry when you are not. Some of the signals sent to your mind because of gastritis or peptic ulcers can be interpreted by your brain as signs of hunger. Both of these problems can irritate your stomach lining and cause it to become eroded. In addition, you could be secreting gastric acid after you eat that is irritating your stomach lining significantly. If you do have some type of stomach issue, make sure to go to your doctor to get checked out and treated. Until the problem is treated, you may continue to experience discomfort and pain that your body is interpreting as hunger.
14. You Ate Too Fast
Your body needs time to process food and realize that it is full. It takes about 20 minutes for the satiety hormones to make you feel satisfied and full. If you are eating too fast, your mind does not have enough time to figure out that you are actually full. Slow down when you eat and it may make things better.