Do you ever wonder why you still feel hungry shortly after a big snack or meal? Some ingredients in the foods and drinks we consume can trick our bodies into thinking we’re still hungry by blocking the ability to tell us when us we are full. In other cases, it is the lack of certain ingredients that gets us into trouble. Take a look at this list to determine you might still feel hungry and how to remedy it:
• You’re dehydrated. Our bodies are nearly 70 percent water and we need to pay careful attention to maintain adequate hydration. In many cases, people drink too much soda. Dehydration presents as thirst, which is all too often confused with the feeling of hunger. If you’ve just eaten and still feel hungry, drink a glass of water before eating more to see if your cravings diminish. Also, be careful how you choose to hydrate. Sweetened beverages including sodas and iced teas contain high fructose corn syrup, which has the potential to impede the body’s satiation hormones that are responsible for communicating to the brain when the stomach is full.
• Your dinner came out of a can. Many canned foods contain the chemical bisphenol-A , more commonly known as BPA, which has been linked (though more research is still needed in this area) to food cravings and subsequent obesity.
• Your breakfast was too small. Eating enough of the right foods to break your fast every morning produces smaller increases in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day. The opposite, large spikes in blood sugar and insulin can bring on more sudden food cravings. Choose whole grains, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and or lean protein (egg white omelet, anyone?) to top you off in the morning.
• You skipped tea time. Drinking one cup of black tea after eating high-carb foods has been shown to decrease blood-sugar levels by 10 percent for up to 3 hours after a meal. The polyphenolic compounds (a.k.a. antioxidants) in tea help suppress food cravings and rebound hunger.
• You’re bored or procrastinating. Eating takes time which is why people often think to do it when they have nothing else going on…or want to delay the inevitable deadline. Instead of reaching for a snack, think of a more productive way to use your time. For example, try exercise, meet a friend for coffee, or keep your hands busy and your mind active with that craft project you’ve been meaning to try.
• You forgot the fiber. A lack of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is one of the most likely causes of constant hunger. Missing out on these key foods not only makes you fiber-deficient, but also deficient in other vitamins such as folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and the list goes on. These nutrients work together to keep your hunger and satiation in a fine working balance.
• You’re letting emotions get the best of you. Stress releases the hormone called cortisol in our body which affects people in different ways. For many, eating (and too often overeating) is a common reaction to stress. Why? Eating for pleasure rather than hunger releases the feel-good hormone called endorphins, which temporarily counteracts the effects of cortisol. Don’t let stress bring you down and your weight up.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a best selling author and the creator of "The F-Factor Diet", an innovative nutritional program she has used for over a decade to provide thousands with the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, and improved health and well-being. In January 2011 Tanya launched the F-Factor food line with the largest natural foods company in the US, the Hain Celestial group. She is thrilled to be able to offer the highest fiber products on the market to date. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.