Hunger is the stomach’s way of telling the brain that we need food. But didn’t you just eat your meal? Then why are you craving for more food and how do you convince your stomach that you are really full?
Food is one of the basic necessities of life. The body requires its share of carbohydrates – the main source of energy, without which it would feel lethargic; fats – to help store energy for future use; and proteins – which are the building blocks and contain the important amino acids.
It takes some time after eating for the stomach to register the feeling of fullness – this is why we are not satisfied after a proper meal. The best thing would be to wait for 10 – 15 minutes or drink some water as this may be all you require.
At times, lack of sleep or not resting enough can cause confusion with appetite hormones. When the body is tired – levels of leptin – the hormone produced by fat cells that control our appetite decrease and at the same time a hormone in the stomach – gherlin – that stimulates appetite increases; so now there are two hormones working against you. When you lack sleep, it would be best to eat good nourishing and energizing food – fruits, complex carbs and proteins would be ideal.
When on medication for allergies, joint pains and colds, the medications may bring on hunger pangs. You need to ignore the pangs if you have eaten well by chewing some gum or sipping some black tea.
The symptoms of thirst and dehydration closely resemble those of hunger. Drink a glass of cool water or some herbal tea, 10 minutes later you will feel much better.
Many a time we eat out of habit rather than hunger. Try to analyze what it is you feel and either eat a small meal or delay the meal by an hour.
After a workout, you may to feel ravenous, but this is again an ingrained habit. You may feel better with some juice or water. At times, the hunger pangs are strong and make you feel faint – try to satisfy them with some complex carbs like brown rice, whole grains or some roast chicken or lean meat.
Eating too fast can also make you feel hungry soon after a meal. Chew your food well and eat slowly, putting your fork down in-between bites. Balance your meal to include carbs, fat and protein. Chew a mint to stave off hunger pangs.
Some women face the problem of working with other women who are snacking all the time on fries and burgers. This has a copy-cat effect and your stomach starts rumbling. You can control the rumblings by chewing on carrot sticks or by leaving the room.
Our sense organs lead and give signals to the stomach; when we see food in a TV advertisement or some cooking show, we crave food -change channels.
Stress is when people turn to food which is high in fat, salty or sugary. They are comfort foods and can make you feel good. The body’s chemical reaction to stress can cause hunger as increased levels of stress hormones – cortisol and insulin can trigger appetite. It is not only emotion.
When you drink too much of soda or sugary beverages like iced tea which are high in fructose – the brain gets tricked and craves for food.
At times, you don’t cook and eat out of cans - Canned food has a chemical called bisphenol A or BPA; this can also cause hunger pangs after a meal.
Breakfast should be healthy and nourishing as the wrong food can leave you feeling hungry all day. A 500-calorie breakfast gives fewer rises to blood sugar and insulin; as a result food cravings are reduced.
Boredom can make you turn to food automatically; when you have nothing to do you tend to reach for the cookie or candy jar. When you are fully occupied, you forget even your meals.