I bet the poor pooch didn't see it coming.
Monday, 23 October 2017
Fermented foods and drinks are quite literally alive with flavor and nutrition. Their flavors tend to be strong and pronounced. Think of stinky aged cheeses, tangy sauerkraut, rich earthy miso, smooth sublime wines. Though not everyone loves every flavor of fermentation, humans have always appreciated the unique, compelling flavors resulting from the transformative power of microscopic bacteria and fungi.
One great practical benefit of fermentation is that it can preserve food. Fermentation organisms produce alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid, all “bio-preservatives” that retain nutrients while preventing spoilage and the growth of pathogenic organisms. Vegetables, fruits, milk, fish and meat are highly perishable, and our ancestors used whatever techniques they could discover to store foods from periods of plenty for later consumption. From the tropics to the Arctic, fermentation has been used to preserve food resources.
MICROBIODIVERSITY AND INCORPORATING THE WILD
By eating a variety of live fermented foods, you promote microbial diversity in your body. The live bacteria in those ferments not heated after fermentation enter our bodies, where some of them survive the stomach and find themselves in our already densely populated intestines. There, they help to digest food and assimilate nutrients, as well as stimulate immune responses. There is no one particular strain that is uniquely beneficial; rather the greatest benefit of eating bacteria lies in biodiversity. Few if any of the bacteria we eat take up residence in our intestines, but even so they have elaborate interactions with the bacteria that are there, and with our bodily cells, in ways that we are just beginning to recognize and that remain little understood.
Biodiversity is increasingly recognized as critical to the survival of larger-scale ecosystems. Earth and all its inhabitants comprise a single, seamless matrix of life, interconnected and interdependent. The frightening repercussions of species extinctions starkly illustrate the impact of the loss of biodiversity all over our planet. The survival of our species depends upon biodiversity.
Biodiversity is just as important at the micro level. Call it microbiodiversity. Your body is an ecosystem that can function most effectively when populated by diverse microorganisms. Sure, you can buy “probiotic” supplements containing specific strains. But by eating traditional fermented foods and beverages, especially those you ferment yourself with wild microorganisms present in your environment, you become more interconnected with the life forces of the world around you. Your environment literally becomes you, as you invite the microbial populations you share the Earth with to enter your diet and your intestinal ecology.
Wild fermentation is a way of incorporating the wild into your body, becoming one with the natural world. Wild foods, microbial cultures included, possess a great, unmediated life force, which can help us lower our susceptibility to disease and adapt to shifting conditions. These microorganisms are everywhere, and the techniques for fermenting with them are simple and flexible.
Are live fermented foods the answer to a long, healthy life? The folklores of many different cultures associate longevity with foods such as yogurt and miso. Many researchers have found evidence to support this causal connection. Pioneering Russian immunologist and Nobel laureate Elie Metchniko studied yogurt-eating centenarians in the Balkans early in the 20th century and concluded that lactic acid bacteria “postpone and ameliorate old age.”
Personally, I’m not so inclined to reduce the secret of long life and good health to any single food or practice. Life consists of multiple variables, and every life is unique. But very clearly fermentation has contributed to the well-being of humanity as a whole.
Long before humans were farmers, they were foragers. What was once an age-old way of eating has seen a resurgence by people interested in wild local foods, and with good reason. Foraging not only helps save on your food budget; wild foods are incredibly healthy, and a day of foraging can be filled with pure old-fashioned fun.
If you’ve never foraged for food before, fall is a great time to start. Nature puts out its most nutrient-rich foods in autumn when wildlife — and us — can eat them or store them for the cold, harsh winter months ahead.
Things You’ll Need:
- A pair of small garden snips, kitchen shears, or a good pocket knife
- A container such as a basket or reusable shopping bag for harvesting
- Gardening gloves
- A notebook to track harvests and locations (optional)
- Dress to protect! When foraging, wear long sleeves and pants to protect your limbs from things like burrs, thorns, stings, or poison ivy. Cover your feet with socks and sturdy shoes or boots.
- Make informed choices. Never, ever, ever eat something that you don’t know with 100% certainty if it is edible or not. Seek out the guidance of a local plant expert, consult and cross-reference when attempting to identify a new plant. If you have doubts, throw it out or compost it.
- Know the law. Laws can vary significantly from region to region, so make sure to do your homework. Foraging is off-limits in some parks and wilderness areas, so it’s best to know before you go. Naturally, don’t venture onto private property without permission.
- Avoid pollutants. Whether you forage in a forest or an urban area, avoid plants treated with herbicides or pesticides. Here’s a handy map for worldwide urban foraging.
- Start small. Wild local plants can be very potent. Begin by slowly introducing one wild edible at a time, in small amounts.
Before you grab a basket and head out, there are a few important considerations to note about foraging: you can die from eating the wrong plant, you can harm delicate ecosystems by walking around in sensitive habitats and decimate plant populations by over-harvesting.
The key is always to respect and honor the place where you are foraging, and the other animals who live there. Only harvest what is abundant and never take more than you can use. Forage just for those plants that you know are edible and forage for them respectfully.
FOODS TO FORAGE IN FALL
Here are some of the wild edibles that you can go and forage for in the fall.
I’m starting with mushrooms because almost everyone knows that there are dangerous, poisonous ones out there to avoid. While this isn’t something to forget, it also shouldn’t stop foragers from searching for wild mushrooms. All you need is a bit of caution and some know-how.
This Wild Mushroom Foraging Guide will help identify edible and poisonous mushrooms using photos and descriptions of various species. The guide also features mushrooms by season, making choosing ones that are easy to find and identify less complicated. Several fall wild mushroom finds are chanterelles, chicken of the woods, wood hedgehog, bolete, and wood blewit mushrooms.
Native Fruits & Nuts
Autumn fruit harvests are almost synonymous with apples, but native fruits are abundant for foragers. The trick is in the timing. Foraging for the ripe fruit means you have to get it before the wildlife can. But the reward can be sweet, or just a little tart. Look for these fall finds: Pawpaws, blackberries, elderberries, buffalo berries, wild grapes, or persimmons.
Trees also start to drop their nuts in autumn. You’ll spot acorns, black walnuts, gingko nuts, or even pine nuts if you’re lucky, all ready for the picking. Foragers beware: Some nuts like acorns require soaking or other preparations before using.
Leaves & Roots
Fall is a great time to forage for greens and leaves. Avoid plants alongside highways or dumping areas. Instead, look for plants that grow abundantly in spaces free from conventional pollutants. Fall foragers can find dandelions, chickweed, sheep sorrel, or stinging nettles.
Autumn is also the perfect time for harvesting roots because they’re a bit sweeter than their springtime selves due to their high inulin content. Seek out roots like wild parsnip, burdock, chicory, or horseradish. Like other foraged foods, the leaves, greens, and roots of native plants require caution and identification before consuming.
Antibiotics are a powerful line of defense against bacterial infections. However, they can sometimes cause side effects, such as diarrhea and liver damage.
Some foods can reduce these side effects, while others may make them worse. This article explains what you should and shouldn’t eat during and after antibiotics.
WHAT ARE ANTIBIOTICS?
Antibiotics are a type of medication used to treat bacterial infections. They work by killing the infection or preventing it from spreading. There are many different types of antibiotics.
Some are broad-spectrum, meaning they act on a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. Others are designed to kill certain species of bacteria. Antibiotics are very important and effective at treating serious infections. Yet, they can come with some negative side effects.
For example, excessive antibiotic use can damage your liver. One study has shown that antibiotics are the most common medication to cause liver injury (1, 2).
Antibiotics may also have negative effects on the trillions of bacteria and other microbes living in your intestines. These bacteria are collectively known as the gut microbiota.
In addition to killing disease-causing bacteria, antibiotics may kill healthy bacteria (3, 4, 5). Taking too many antibiotics can drastically change the amounts and types of bacteria within the gut microbiota, especially in early life (6, 7, 8). In fact, only one week of antibiotics can change the makeup of the gut microbiota for up to a year (9).
Some studies have shown that changes to the gut microbiota caused by excessive antibiotic use in early life may even increase the risk of weight gain and obesity (10). Furthermore, the overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, making them ineffective at killing disease-causing bacteria (11).
Finally, by changing the types of bacteria living in the intestines, antibiotics can cause intestinal side effects, including diarrhea (12).
TAKE PROBIOTICS DURING AND AFTER TREATMENT
Taking antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota, which can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea, especially in children. Fortunately, a number of studies have shown that taking probiotics, or live healthy bacteria, can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (13, 14). One review of 23 studies including nearly 400 children found that taking probiotics at the same time as antibiotics could reduce the risk of diarrhea by more than 50% (15).
A larger review of 82 studies including over 11,000 people found similar results in adults, as well as children (16). These studies showed that Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces probiotics were particularly effective.
However, given that probiotics are usually bacteria themselves, they can also be killed by antibiotics if taken together. Thus, it is important to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart.
Probiotics should also be taken after a course of antibiotics in order to restore some of the healthy bacteria in the intestines that may have been killed. One study showed that probiotics can restore the microbiota to its original state after a disruptive event, such as taking antibiotics (17).
If taking probiotics after antibiotics, it may be better to take one that contains a mixture of different species of probiotics, rather than just one.
EAT FERMENTED FOODS
Certain foods can also help restore the gut microbiota after damage caused by antibiotics. Fermented foods are produced by microbes and include yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi, among others. They contain a number of healthy bacterial species, such as Lactobacilli, which can help restore the gut microbiota to a healthy state after antibiotics.
Studies have shown that people who eat yogurt or fermented milk have higher amounts of Lactobacilli in their intestines and lower amounts of disease-causing bacteria, such as Enterobacteria and Bilophila wadsworthia (18, 19, 20).
Kimchi and fermented soybean milk have similar beneficial effects and can help cultivate healthy bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria (21, 22). Therefore, eating fermented foods may help improve gut health after taking antibiotics.
EAT HIGH-FIBER FOODS
Fiber can’t be digested by your body, but it can be digested by your gut bacteria, which helps stimulate their growth.
As a result, fiber may help restore healthy gut bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
High-fiber foods include:
- Whole grains (porridge, whole grain bread, brown rice)
Studies have shown that foods that contain dietary fiber are not only able to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, but they may also reduce the growth of some harmful bacteria (26, 27, 28). However, dietary fiber can slow the rate that the stomach empties. In turn, this can slow the rate at which medicines are absorbed (29).
Therefore, it is best to temporarily avoid high-fiber foods during antibiotic treatment and instead focus on eating them after stopping antibiotics.
EAT PREBIOTIC FOODS
Unlike probiotics, which are live microbes, prebiotics are foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Many high-fiber foods are prebiotic. The fiber is digested and fermented by healthy gut bacteria, allowing them to grow (30). However, other foods are not high in fiber but act as prebiotics by helping the growth of healthy bacteria like Bifidobacteria.
For example, red wine contains antioxidant polyphenols, which are not digested by human cells but are digested by gut bacteria. One study found that consuming red wine polyphenol extracts for four weeks could significantly increase the amount of healthy Bifidobacteria in the intestines and reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol (31).
Similarly, cocoa contains antioxidant polyphenols that have beneficial prebiotic effects on the gut microbiota. A couple studies have shown that cocoa polyphenols also increase healthy Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus in the gut and reduce some unhealthy bacteria, including Clostridia (32, 33).
Thus, eating prebiotic foods after antibiotics may help the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that have been damaged by antibiotics.
AVOID CERTAIN FOODS THAT REDUCE ANTIBIOTIC EFFECTIVENESS
While many foods are beneficial during and after antibiotics, some should be avoided. For example, studies have shown that it can be harmful to consume grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking certain medications, including antibiotics (34, 35).
This is because grapefruit juice and many medications are broken down by an enzyme called cytochrome P450. Eating grapefruit while on antibiotics can prevent the body from breaking down the medication properly. This can be harmful to your health. One study in six healthy men found that drinking grapefruit juice while taking the antibiotic erythromycin increased the amount of the antibiotic in the blood, compared to those who took it with water (36).
Foods supplemented with calcium may also affect antibiotic absorption. Studies have shown that foods supplemented with calcium can reduce the absorption of various antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin (37, 38).
However, other studies have shown that calcium-containing foods like yogurt don’t have the same inhibitory effect (39). It could be that only foods that are supplemented with high doses of calcium should be avoided when taking antibiotics.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Antibiotics are important when you have a bacterial infection. However, they can sometimes cause side effects, including diarrhea, liver disease and changes to the gut microbiota.
Taking probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics can help reduce the risk of diarrhea and restore your gut microbiota to a healthy state.
Eating high-fiber foods, fermented foods and prebiotic foods after taking antibiotics may also help reestablish a healthy gut microbiota.
However, it is best to avoid grapefruit and calcium-fortified foods during antibiotics, as these can affect the absorption of antibiotics.
Hunger is your body’s natural cue that it needs more food.
When you’re hungry, your stomach may “growl” and feel empty, or you may get a headache, feel irritable or be unable to concentrate.
Most people can go several hours between meals before feeling hungry again, though this isn’t the case for everyone.
There are several possible explanations for this, including a diet that lacks protein, fat or fiber, as well as excessive stress or dehydration.
This article discusses 14 reasons for excessive hunger.
Consuming enough protein is important for appetite control.
Protein has hunger-reducing properties that may help you automatically consume fewer calories during the day. It works by increasing the production of hormones that signal fullness and reducing the levels of hormones that stimulate hunger (1, 2, 3, 4).
Due to these effects, you may feel hungry frequently if you’re not eating enough protein.
In one study, 14 overweight men who consumed 25% of their calories from protein for 12 weeks experienced a 50% reduction in their desire for late-night snacking, compared to a group that consumed less protein (5).
Additionally, those with a higher protein intake reported greater fullness throughout the day and fewer obsessive thoughts about food (5).
Many different foods are high in protein, so it is not difficult to get enough of it through your diet. Including a source of protein in every meal can help prevent excessive hunger.
Animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs, contain high amounts of protein.
It is also found in some dairy products, including milk and yogurt, as well as a few plant-based foods like legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
SUMMARY:Protein plays an important role in appetite control by regulating your hunger hormones. For this reason, you may feel hungry frequently if you don’t eat enough of it.
Getting adequate sleep is extremely important for your health.
Sleep is required for the proper functioning of your brain and immune system, and it is associated with a lower risk of several chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer (6).
Additionally, sleeping enough is a factor in controlling appetite, as it helps regulate ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone. Lack of sleep leads to higher ghrelin levels, which is why you may feel hungrier when you are sleep deprived (7, 8).
In one study, 15 people who were sleep deprived for only one night reported being significantly more hungry and chose 14% larger portion sizes, compared to a group that slept for eight hours (9).
Getting enough sleep also helps ensure adequate levels of leptin, which is a hormone that promotes feelings of fullness (7, 8).
To keep your hunger levels under control, it is generally recommended to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
SUMMARY:Sleep deprivation is known to cause fluctuations in your hunger hormone levels and may leave you feeling hungry more frequently.
Refined carbs have been processed and stripped of their fiber, vitamins and minerals.
One of the most popular sources of refined carbs is white flour, which is found in many grain-based foods like bread and pasta. Foods such as soda, candy and baked goods, which are made with processed sugars, are also considered to be refined carbs.
Since refined carbs lack filling fiber, your body digests them very quickly. This is a major reason why you may be hungry frequently if you eat a lot of refined carbs, as they do not promote significant feelings of fullness (10).
Furthermore, eating refined carbs may lead to rapid spikes in your blood sugar. This leads to increased levels of insulin, a hormone responsible for transporting sugar into your cells (10, 11).
When a lot of insulin is released at once in response to high blood sugar, it works by quickly removing sugar from your blood, which may lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels (10, 11).
Low blood sugar levels signal your body that it needs more food, which is another reason why you may feel hungry often if refined carbs are a regular part of your diet (10).
To reduce your refined carb intake, simply replace them with healthier, whole foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains. These foods are still high in carbs, but they are rich in fiber, which is helpful for keeping hunger under control (12).
SUMMARY:Refined carbs lack fiber and cause blood sugar fluctuations, which are the primary reasons why eating too many of them may leave you feeling hungry.
Fat plays a key role in keeping you full.
This is partly due to its slow gastrointestinal transit time, meaning that it takes longer for you to digest and remains in your stomach for a long period of time. Additionally, eating fat may lead to the release of various fullness-promoting hormones (13, 14, 15).
For these reasons, you may feel frequent hunger if your diet is low in fat.
One study including 270 obese adults found that those who followed a low-fat diet had significant increases in cravings for carbs and preferences for high-sugar foods, compared to a group that consumed a low-carb diet (16).
Furthermore, those in the low-fat group reported more feelings of hunger than the group that followed a low-carb eating pattern (16).
There are many healthy, high-fat foods that you can include in your diet to increase your fat intake. Certain types of fats, such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and omega-3 fatty acids, have been studied the most for their impact on reducing appetite (17, 18, 19, 20).
The richest food source of MCT is coconut oil, while omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. You can also get omega-3s from plant-based foods, such as walnuts and flaxseeds.
Some other sources of healthy, high-fat foods include avocados, olive oil, eggs and full-fat yogurt.
SUMMARY:You may feel hungry often if you don’t eat enough fat. That’s because fat plays a role in slowing digestion and increasing the production of fullness-promoting hormones.
Proper hydration is incredibly important for your overall health.
Drinking enough water has several health benefits, including promoting brain and heart health and optimizing exercise performance. Additionally, water keeps your skin and digestive system healthy (21).
Water is also quite filling and has the potential to reduce appetite when consumed before meals (22, 23).
In one study, 14 people who drank two cups of water before a meal ate almost 600 fewer calories than those who didn’t drink any water (24).
Due to water’s role in keeping you full, you may find that you feel hungry frequently if you’re not drinking enough of it.
Feelings of thirst can be mistaken for feelings of hunger. If you’re always hungry, it may be helpful to drink a glass or two of water to find out if you are just thirsty (23).
To ensure you’re properly hydrated, simply drink water when you feel thirsty. Eating lots of water-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, will also contribute to your hydration needs (25).
SUMMARY:You may always be hungry if you’re not drinking enough water. That’s because it has appetite-reducing properties. Additionally, it is possible that you are mistaking feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger.
If your diet lacks fiber, you may feel hungry frequently.
Consuming lots of high-fiber foods is beneficial for keeping hunger under control. High-fiber foods slow your stomach’s emptying rate and take longer to digest than low-fiber foods (12, 26).
Additionally, a high fiber intake influences the release of appetite-reducing hormones and the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to have fullness-promoting effects (12).
It’s important to note that there are different types of fiber, and some are better than others at keeping you full and preventing hunger. Several studies have found soluble fiber, or fiber that dissolves in water, to be more filling than insoluble fiber (27, 28, 29).
Many different foods, such as oatmeal, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, oranges and Brussels sprouts, are excellent sources of soluble fiber.
Not only is a high-fiber diet helpful for reducing hunger, it is also associated with several other health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity (30).
To ensure you’re getting enough fiber, opt for a diet that is rich in whole, plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
SUMMARY:If your diet lacks fiber, you may find that you are always hungry. This is because fiber plays a role in reducing your appetite and keeping you full.
If you live a busy lifestyle, you may often eat while you are distracted.
Although it may save you time, distracted eating can be detrimental to your health. It is associated with a greater appetite, increased calorie intake and weight gain (31).
The primary reason for this is because distracted eating reduces your awareness of how much you’re actually consuming. |t prevents you from recognizing your body’s fullness signals as efficiently as when you’re not distracted (31).
Several studies have shown that those who engage in distracted eating are hungrier than those who avoid distractions during mealtimes (31).
In one study, 88 women were instructed to eat either while distracted or sitting in silence. Those who were distracted were less full and had a significantly greater desire to eat more throughout the day, compared to the non-distracted eaters (32).
Another study found that subjects who distracted themselves with a computer game during lunch were less full than those who did not play the game. Additionally, the distracted eaters consumed 48% more food in a test that occurred later that day (33).
To prevent excessive hunger, it may help to avoid distracted eating. This will allow you to sit down and taste your food, helping you better recognize your body’s fullness signals.
SUMMARY:Distracted eating may be a reason why you are always hungry, as it makes it difficult for you to recognize feelings of fullness.
Individuals who exercise frequently burn a lot of calories.
This is especially true if you regularly participate in high-intensity exercise or engage in physical activity for long durations, such as in marathon training.
Research has shown that those who exercise vigorously on a regular basis tend to have faster metabolisms, which means that they burn more calories at rest than those who exercise moderately or live sedentary lifestyles (34, 35, 36).
In one study, 10 men who engaged in a vigorous 45-minute workout increased their overall metabolic rate by 37% for the day, compared to another day when they did not exercise (37).
Another study found that women who exercised at a high intensity every day for 16 days burned 33% more calories throughout the day than a group that did not exercise, and 15% more calories than moderate exercisers. The results were similar for men (38).
Although several studies have shown exercise to be beneficial for suppressing appetite, there is some evidence that vigorous, long-term exercisers tend to have greater appetites than those who do not exercise (39, 40, 41, 42).
You can prevent excessive hunger from exercise simply by eating more to fuel your workouts. It is most helpful to increase your intake of filling foods that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats.
Another solution is to cut back on the time you spend exercising or reduce the intensity of your workouts.
It is important to note that this mostly applies to those who are avid athletes and work out frequently at a high intensity or for long periods of time. If you exercise moderately, you probably don’t need to increase your calorie intake.
SUMMARY:Individuals who regularly exercise at a high intensity or for long durations tend to have greater appetites and faster metabolisms. Thus, they may experience frequent hunger.
Alcohol is well known for its appetite-stimulating effects (43).
Studies have shown that alcohol may inhibit hormones that reduce appetite, such as leptin, especially when it is consumed before or with meals. For this reason, you may feel hungry often if you drink too much alcohol (43, 44, 45).
In one study, 12 men who drank 1.5 ounces (40 ml) of alcohol before lunch ended up consuming 300 more calories at the meal than a group that drank only 0.3 ounces (10 ml) (46).
Additionally, those who drank more alcohol ate 10% more calories throughout the entire day, compared to the group that drank less. They were also more likely to consume high amounts of high-fat and salty foods (46).
Another study found that 26 people who drank one ounce (30 ml) of alcohol with a meal consumed 30% more calories, compared to a group that avoided alcohol (47).
Not only does alcohol have the ability to make you hungrier, but it may also impair the part of your brain that controls judgment and self-control. This may lead you to eat more, regardless of how hungry you are (44).
To reduce the hunger-inducing effects of alcohol, it is best to consume it moderately or avoid it completely (48).
SUMMARY:Drinking too much alcohol may cause you to feel hungry frequently due to its role in decreasing the production of hormones that promote fullness.
Liquid and solid foods affect your appetite in different ways.
If you consume a lot of liquid foods, such as smoothies, meal replacement shakes and soups, you may be hungrier more often than you would be if you ate more solid foods.
One major reason for this is that liquids pass through your stomach more quickly than solid foods do (49, 50, 51).
Furthermore, some studies suggest that liquid foods do not have as great of an impact on the suppression of hunger-promoting hormones, compared to solid foods (49, 52).
Eating liquid foods also tends to take less time than eating solid foods. This may lead you to want to eat more, only because your brain hasn’t had enough time to process fullness signals (53).
In one study, people who consumed a liquid snack reported less fullness and more feelings of hunger than those who consumed a solid snack. They also consumed 400 more calories throughout the day than the solid-snack group (52).
To prevent frequent hunger, it may help to focus on incorporating more whole, solids foods into your diet.
SUMMARY:Liquid foods do not have the same effects on keeping you full and satisfied as solid foods do. For this reason, you may feel hungry frequently if liquids are a major part of your diet.
Excess stress is known to increase appetite.
This is mostly due to its effects on increasing levels of cortisol, a hormone that has been shown to promote hunger and food cravings. For this reason, you might find that you are always hungry if you experience frequent stress (54, 55, 56, 57).
In one study, 59 women who were exposed to stress consumed more calories throughout the day and ate significantly more sweet foods than women who were not stressed (57).
Another study compared the eating habits of 350 young girls. Those with higher stress levels were more likely to overeat than those with lower levels of stress. The stressed girls also reported higher intakes of unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies (58).
There are many strategies you can use to reduce your stress levels. Some options include exercise and deep breathing (59, 60).
SUMMARY:Excessive stress is a reason why you may be hungry frequently, given its ability to increase cortisol levels in the body.
Several medications may increase your appetite as a side effect.
The most common appetite-inducing medications include antipsychotics, such as clozapine and olanzapine, as well as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, corticosteroids and anti-seizure drugs (61, 62, 63, 64).
Additionally, some diabetes medications, such as insulin, insulin secretagogues and thiazolidinediones, are known to increase your hunger and appetite (65).
There is also some anecdotal evidence that birth control pills have appetite-stimulating properties, but this is not supported by strong scientific research.
If you suspect that medications are the cause of your frequent hunger, it may help to talk to your doctor about other treatment options. There may be alternative medications that don’t make you hungry.
SUMMARY:Certain medications cause increased appetite as a side effect. In turn, they may cause you to experience frequent hunger.
The rate at which you eat may play a role in how hungry you are.
Several studies have shown that fast eaters have greater appetites and a tendency to overeat at meals, compared to slow eaters. They are also more likely to be overweight or obese (66, 67, 68, 69).
In one study in 30 women, fast eaters consumed 10% more calories at a meal and reported significantly less fullness, compared to slow eaters (70).
Another study compared the effects of eating rates in those with diabetes. Those who ate a meal slowly became full more quickly and reported less hunger 30 minutes after the meal, compared to fast eaters (71).
These effects are partly due to the lack of chewing and reduced awareness that occurs when you eat too fast, which are both necessary to alleviate feelings of hunger (72, 73, 74).
Additionally, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly gives your body and brain more time to release anti-hunger hormones and convey fullness signals (72, 75).
If you are hungry frequently, it may help to eat more slowly. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths before meals, putting your fork down between bites and increasing the extent to which you chew your food.
SUMMARY:Eating too quickly doesn’t allow your body enough time to recognize fullness, which may promote excessive hunger.
Frequent hunger may be a symptom of disease.
First, frequent hunger is a classic sign of diabetes. It occurs as a result of extremely high blood sugar levels and is typically accompanied by other symptoms, including excessive thirst, weight loss and fatigue (76).
Hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by an overactive thyroid, is also associated with increased hunger. This is because it causes the excess production of thyroid hormones, which are known to promote appetite (77, 78).
Additionally, excessive hunger is often a symptom of a few other conditions, such as depression, anxiety and premenstrual syndrome (56, 80).
If you suspect that you may have one of these conditions, it is important that you talk with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.
SUMMARY:Excessive hunger is a symptom of a few specific medical conditions, which should be ruled out if you are frequently hungry.
Excessive hunger is a sign that your body needs more food.
It is often a result of imbalanced hunger hormones, which may occur for a variety of reasons, including inadequate diet and certain lifestyle habits.
You may feel hungry frequently if your diet lacks protein, fiber or fat, all of which have properties that promote fullness and reduce appetite. Extreme hunger is also a sign of inadequate sleep and chronic stress.
Additionally, certain medications and illnesses are known to cause frequent hunger.
If you feel hungry often, it may be beneficial to assess your diet and lifestyle to determine if there are changes you can make that will help you feel more full.
Your hunger could also be a sign that you are not eating enough, which can be solved simply by increasing your food intake.