By Alice Harrosh
I don’t know why I’m always hungry! I make sure to eat frequently throughout the day but still feel famished. Do you have an idea as to why starvation kicks in?
(1) You’re simply carb-loading. No need to fill up on rice, pasta, or bread to ensure you stay full after a meal. Refined carbohydrates like white rice, white pasta, and white bread have been through a manufacturing process that has removed the outer husks of the grains, leaving just the inner sugar part. The hormone insulin removes these blood sugars and this sugar surge is quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugars, triggering a sugar craving followed by hunger pangs soon after.
It is not only important to replace cooked white grains with more complex whole grain options, such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, but also with vegetables, such as butternut squash or sweet potato, which are slower-releasing carbohydrates, keeping you fuller for longer.
(2) Lack of protein in every meal and snack. Protein is a complex nutrient and takes longer to break down during the digestive process, keeping you feeling satisfied for a large span of time.
Make sure to include good-quality lean protein with each meal and snack. For example, add sliced turkey breast, eggs, tuna, or beans to a large bed of salad as a meal, or snack on edamame beans, a protein bar, nuts, or any other protein-based snack. This will help carry you over from each meal to snack throughout the day without putting your body in starvation mode.
(3) Lack of fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. Fiber has no magical fat-burning properties. It simply helps you feel full without adding a lot of extra calories to your diet. When you have a baked potato (with skin) instead of a bag of potato chips, for example, you’re not only eating fewer calories, you’re less likely to feel hungry again an hour later.
Vegetables provide plenty of fiber; ideally, half your plate should be made up of vegetables. The fiber and water content of vegetables help you to stay fuller for longer.
(4) Little to no sleep. Many studies show that the less sleep you get, the more you eat. You should be getting at least 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite. In addition, you are likely to eat more to compensate for the fatigue and lack of energy the following day. Try focusing on getting your standard amount of sleep per night by relaxing at the end of the day by taking a warm bath, drinking an herbal tea, and switching off your electronic devices such as your cellphone, tablet, and computer. A diet high in sugary foods during the day also contributes to sleep quality and can lead to disrupted sleep.
(5) Lack of water. There are many benefits to drinking water daily. One of the reasons is staying hydrated. If you are dehydrated, your brain may be confusing thirst for hunger, leaving you thinking that you’re famished and need food ASAP. The recommended amount of water daily is anywhere between 8–12 cups daily.
(6) You’re not in a daily routine. Ever spent a day or two at home without leaving because of a massive snowstorm? How about a holiday? Counted down the minutes till it ended because you couldn’t stop eating? Well, lack of daily regimen can cause you to turn on your lazy mode and look for food even though you’re not hungry, just bored.
(7) You’re skipping meals. More than just not feeding your body, the habit of skipping meals has been shown to be able to make you feel hungrier when the next meal rolls around. When you don’t eat, your body can deplete its blood glucose stores, which promotes an uptick in the hunger hormone ghrelin, increasing your appetite. Focus on eating every three hours or less and keep healthy, filling snacks around to curb your appetite so you don’t overindulge at your next meal.
Hope this helps!
Alice Harrosh is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya, with 14 locations including a branch in Five Towns right on Elderd Lane (behind Jildor Shoes). Alice knows that making healthy choices is not always easy as she has been through the struggle herself. As an optimistic person, Alice’s favorite quote is: “It’s never too late to start eating better. If you have a bad morning, make it a better afternoon.” For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya approved products) food line, please visit nutritionbytanya.com or call 844-Tanya-Diet (844-826-9234). For daily tips and inspiration, you may follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram. Our beautiful and healthy new cookbook, Cooking with Tanya, is now available in Judaica stores or through the Menucha Publishing website.