Is eating making you hungry?

You may have a big appetite but still be starving all the time. Why? It could simply be because of the foods you do or don't eat.

You eat too many 'bad' carbs

Sugary foods and processed carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice and low-fibre breakfast cereals, have a poor ability to fill you up, because of their high GI, glycaemic index. This means they're digested quickly and only raise blood sugar levels briefly, leaving you hungry again quite soon. Beat it: Opt for slower-releasing minimally-processed carbs which fill you up for longer. Eg muesli, porridge oats, seeded or grainy bread and pulses, including baked beans.

Your diet doesn't have enough bulk

According to one scientific theory, we're satisfied by eating a given volume of food every day, not a particular calorie count. Choosing more foods with a 'low energy density', lots of bulk but not many calories, will achieve fullness without you getting fat. Beat it: Include more fruits and vegetables, salads and potatoes or pasta without butter or creamy sauces in your diet. and fewer crisps, fries and fast food which have loads of calories in a small portion!

You're not having enough protein

Protein is more filling than either carbohydrate or fat, so take a look at how much of this nutrient you're eating. As a nation we over consume protein but there's a lot of individual variation and having one large portion daily might be less effective for hunger management than having two smaller ones. Beat it: Make sure you have two separate small servings a day of lean meat, fish, Quorn or tofu.

It's your genes

Yes, you can blame your genes, up to a point! Some people are just born lucky and have a smaller appetite, while others need bigger portions to keep them satisfied. Beat it: If your genetic make-up's against you, it's even more important to make sure you're eating foods that are filling but not fattening. And you might find it's better to eat little and often rather than getting really hungry before a long awaited meal and then overdoing it.

You're actually thirsty

Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, a possibility that's definitely worth exploring.

Beat it: Try first having a glass of water before you reach for a snack. It might keep you going a little longer. Having a glass of water before a meal could also slightly reduce the amount you eat.

Suddenly feeling more hungry than normal can occasionally signify a medical condition such as an overactive thyroid or even diabetes. So don't ignore appetite changes, especially if they're accompanied by weight loss, thirst, or changes in energy levels. See your GP.


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