Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Is it normal to be hungry when you have just finished your meal? It is, say the experts, and they cite some possible causes.

How many times has it happened to you to empty your plate and still not feel full? Have you eaten an entire serving of food, but feel a void that you desperately want to fill? So you start to wonder: Should I eat a little more or not? Why am I so hungry? Is normal;

“Hunger is one of the ways your body tries to tell you something . It can mean anything from it’s simply time for the next meal to an underlying health condition,” explains American dietitian Cara Harbstreet.

“There are too many variables to answer this question with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ Everyone’s designed differently,” adds Julia Zumpano, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic ‘s Digestive Disease Institute .

So what are some of the reasons why you might be hungry, even if you’ve just finished your meal?

1. You didn’t eat enough at your meal or during the day

Obviously, if the portion you consumed is “childish”, then the reason you continue to be hungry is clear. “In my experience, the most common reason someone reports feeling hungry right after eating is because they simply haven’t eaten enough . Something that often happens e.g. when someone is on a weight-loss diet ,” says Harbstreet.

The same can happen if you have eaten a little during the day. So it is to be expected that when you return home you will need a double portion to cover your needs. This can happen after a long day, when your responsibilities have distracted you from feeling hungry, and you only realize it when the day’s adrenaline wears off.

hunger after meal



2. Your diet lacks specific nutrients

Apart from how much you eat, what you eat also matters. Foods rich in protein (eg, lean meat, fish, dairy) or fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) increase feelings of satiety. Protein helps satiety and stabilizes blood sugar levels , while fiber expands in the stomach, taking up more space so you feel full.

Don’t forget, also, the “good” fats . Adding foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (eg, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed) can help regulate your appetite. Without them you are likely to crave carbohydrates and foods high in sugar.

3. You consumed a lot of simple carbohydrates

“Your body burns through simple carbs quickly,” says nutritionist Amanda Sauceda, adding that a lack of protein can make things worse. So if your plate is full of refined carbohydrates, like white rice, you’ll feel full for a while, but soon you’ll be hungry again. Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to spike , which then plummet.


hunger after meal



4. You increased your activity levels

Did you start walking or running a little more? Are you spending a little more time in the gym? The body needs fuel when you train and this leads to an increase in metabolism. Therefore, if you exercise harder or longer, you will need to increase your caloric intake. If you haven’t, it makes sense to still be hungry after your meal.

5. You don’t enjoy your food

Remember, eating beyond the need for calories and nutrients, is also an experience. It is good, therefore, to enjoy it and maybe this part is missing from your nutritional model. Satisfaction is a key part of satiety . It is important to keep both your stomach and your brain “happy” . So maybe it will help you to add some “forbidden” food to your menu once in a while.


hunger after meal



6. You don’t sleep well

“Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Anything less than that can lead to seeking energy from food, especially foods high in sugar and carbohydrates ,” explains Zumpano. Lack of sleep can affect the hormones that control hunger. More specifically, sleep helps regulate ghrelin, a hormone associated with appetite, and a lack of it increases its levels, making you feel hungry. If you can’t sleep that many hours at night, try to at least give your body some rest with a short afternoon nap .

Many reasons why hunger does not go away after a meal can be corrected with lifestyle changes . However, your large appetite may also be due to medication (eg antihistamines and some antidepressants) or an underlying health problem (eg diabetes, depression, thyroid issues). So if you’re hungry all the time without any other obvious explanation, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.



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