The feeling of an empty stomach, weakness and being unable to concentrate probably means that it is high time for you to eat something. Your stomach gives you the sign that it is empty by producing a special hormone – ghrelin – which goes to the brain to communicate “the level of fuel is too low!” When your stomach is filled with food or drink the ghrelin production stops. And here the problem of hunger should end, but actually, it is not so simple as it seems. Being hungry not always means having an empty stomach. Hunger may be a result of a few factors: medical, emotional or social.
I eat, but I am hungry very quickly!
If you want to feel full for longer, what exactly you eat really counts. If you eat products with high glycaemic index (white bread, pasta, rice, sweets etc.), your sugar level increases very fast, but as fast as it grows, it also drops. So you are hungry soon after eating such a meal. Choose protein, fat and food with lots of fiber if you want to stay full for longer. What is more, sometimes we think we are hungry, but in fact we are just…thirsty. Drink and wait, if you are still hungry after drinking, then eat something nutritious.
How about FAST food?
Another aspect of eating properly, so that we could not feel hungry all the time, is the way we eat. If we eat too fast, we are less satisfied and we need more and more. Our brain sends a message “you are full” after more or less 20 minutes from the beginning of your meal. You should make your eating time calm and stay focused on eating only – no TV, computer etc. Generally, fatty fast food does not make you full enough (although it contains lots of fat), because it is served in small portions without vegetables which are great fillers.
Watch out if you eat these
- Salty snacks – they are rich in fat and calories, but you can eat a whole bucket of them and still feel hungry. It is a good way of getting on weight.
- Sushi – fish is good for you, right. But, remember about rice – it has a high glycaemic index.
- Juices – the best option is to choose a whole fruit instead of a glass of juice (without fiber and often containing lots of sugar). Especially avoid sugary drinks.
- Alcohol – it reduces the level of leptin – a hormone which makes you feel full.
Feeling hungry can be also a symptom. You may notice such increase of appetite in the case of: premenstrual period, early pregnancy, hypoglycemia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease and it is often a result of sleeping disorders.
Sometimes we eat not because we need to provide fuel for our body, we eat because we are…bored, sad or stressed. This is called emotional eating and can be very harmful for your good shape. Especially because emotional eaters usually choose junk food instead of more healthy options. Food is supposed to cure their problems and provide pleasure. Here is the solution: first – realize the problem (junk food will not solve your problems and can only bring more), then – find another way of relaxation – sport, meditation, hobbies. But apart from these, as the problem is very often more complex, you may need some professional help.