News | Published June 10, 2015 | Written by Tania Zuniga, MD, family medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Underlying reasons you might be a bottomless-pit

Craving a candy bar? Got a hankering for a bag of chips from the vending machine? The desire to graze in between meals is not all that uncommon, but when you feel like you’re always leaving the dinner table hungry, or you feel like you need to eat all day long to stay satisfied, another health concern may be to blame.

Check your protein intake: If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet you may become hungrier much sooner, especially if your diet is high in carbs. In general, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend that protein make up 10 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake. For adult women, that’s about 46 grams per day, and adult men should ingest about 56 grams per day.

Limit your alcohol: If your once-per-week glass of wine or cocktail is turning into an every day habit, the alcohol may be to blame for your hunger. Because alcohol naturally dehydrates your body, you likely need more h20 instead of more food. Even if you haven’t been drinking, drinking a glass of water when you first wake up in the morning is another great way to rehydrate your body and ward off unnecessary daytime munching.

Evaluate your stress and anxiety levels: A lot of times, people who are under a lot of pressure at work or at home use food as comfort. If you’re under a looming deadline and find yourself constantly munching at your desk, try taking a quick five-minute walk break every hour to recharge. Your body will appreciate it and your productivity will likely improve, too.

Freshen up your sleep hygiene: Not getting enough good quality sleep throughout the night can leave you feeling ravenous throughout the day. When your body is not well rested, your appetite is typically stimulated. Worse off, when you’re sleep deprived, the body is likely craving foods that are unhealthily high in fat and carbs. Remember to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime, keep your room cool and dark, and limit evening exercise.

Other reasons you may feel exceptionally hungry may include premenstrual syndrome in women (PMS), pregnancy, side effects of a new medication, a thyroid condition, or more. If your insatiable hunger does not improve with the above tips, contact your family doctor.