Always Hungry?

Person dieting: “I don’t know why but I’m hungry ALL the time!”

Karen at the office: “Have a glass of water, sometimes thirst gets mistaken for hunger.”

Coach Ben: “No Karen, it doesn’t. If you’re hungry, you’re hungry. Feeling thirsty does not get mistaken for hunger. Ever.”


Having a drink of water can temporarily distract you from feeling hungry but soon after it’s back to feeling hungry again.

That’s because thirst and hunger are not the same thing and are stimulated by different pathways, hormones and complex feedback loops throughout your body that talk to different receptors within your brain.

Thirst is triggered but a number of factors such as the amount of fluid on the inside and outside of the cells within your body, the osmolality of your blood and electrolyte balance.

Even though hunger and appetite are two different things, they are often and easily confused as being one in the same. Hunger is your body’s signal for the need to eat and consume energy for survival.

Appetite on the other hand is a signal from your brain that increases the desire to eat and this can be triggered be seeing, smelling, or visualising some foods.

5 Simple Strategies To Control Your Appetite and Keep Hunger Pangs At Bay;

1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation is directly linked to obesity, having an increased appetite and a greater desire for higher calorie food options. Studies have shown that 7-9 hours of unbroken sleep per night is ideal.

No matter how much will power you think you have, if you’re sleep deprived your physiology is going to be working against you by reducing your daily energy expenditure, increasing your appetite and increasing the desire to eat higher calorie foods as well increasing the feelings of reward after eating the higher calorie food.

2. Eat Protein and Fiber At Every Meal

Meals high in both protein and fiber are more filling due to the amount of chewing involved and the high amount of food volume. Several studies have also shown greater amounts of weight loss and better weight loss maintenance in people following a higher protein diet.

Not only that but studies have shown that a high protein diet has a greater impact on fat loss due to the additional thermic effect of protein.

When it comes to fiber, viscous fiber has the greatest effect on your feelings of satiety and the foods highest in viscous fiber are beans, oats, legumes, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

3. Chew Your Food Thoroughly

Taking the time to sit, smell and chew your food thoroughly can have a bigger impact on your appetite than you might of thought.

Chewing your food stimulates the secretion of gastric juices required for proper digestion and increasing the number of chews per mouthful of food has been shown to increase the feeling of satiety after a meal.

Rather than an arbitrary number of chews, the better recommendation is to eat slowly and chew your food until it becomes a soft, mushy paste before swallowing.

4. Maintain Regular Meal Times

Much like your sleeping pattern helps regulate your ‘body clock’, your body learns when you eat most regularly and starts to increase the appetite signalling hormone Ghrelin in anticipation of the meal.

Skipping or missing meals is linked to overeating later in the day and can also affect how your body metabolises food.

5. Remove Temptation

It doesn’t matter how strong willed you think you are, if temptation is around, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you will give in, it’s a matter of ‘when’ will you give in. One of the simplest ways to control your appetite and the desire to eat is to remove visible temptations.

Hide the jar of biscuits on the bench. Put the lollies in a coloured container so that they aren’t easily visible every time you open the pantry. Avoid going shopping on an empty stomach.

Once you’ve got the 5 strategies above in place you’ll be much better equipped to manage your hunger pangs and control your appetite.


The Regulation of Food Intake in Humans

The Physiological Regulation of Thirst and Fluid Intake

The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain

Effect of a High-Protein, High-Fiber Beverage Preload on Subjective Appetite Ratings and Subsequent Ad Libitum Energy Intake in Overweight Men and Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study

Effects of fat, protein, and carbohydrate and protein load on appetite, plasma cholecystokinin, peptide YY, and ghrelin, and energy intake in lean and obese men.

Increasing the number of masticatory cycles is associated with reduced appetite and altered postprandial plasma concentrations of gut hormones, insulin and glucose › cgi › viewcontent/

Irregular meal-pattern effects on energy expenditure, metabolism, and appetite regulation: a randomized controlled trial in healthy normal-weight women

Possible entrainment of ghrelin to habitual meal patterns in humans.

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