Do you feel hungry even if you eat more frequently and in larger portions than you’re used to? If that sounds like you, we can say that your appetite has increased.
An increased appetite may be caused by many factors, and in many cases it results in weight gain. Sometimes an increased appetite is the result of increased physical activity and can be considered normal because your body needs to regain the energy it’s spent. If this doesn’t apply to you, you may be making nutritional mistakes that lead to increased appetite.
Here is a list of potential mistakes:
1) Lack of fiber
If your diet lacks fiber, you may feel hungry more frequently. And conversely, high-fiber foods take longer to digest, therefore making you feel full for a longer time.
Add more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, to your diet.
2) Low-fat diet
Healthy fats are essential for a fully functioning digestive system. They also make you feel full because it takes longer to digest them. People who follow a low-fat diet tend to crave more sugary and refined food.
Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, and nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseeds are great sources of healthy fats.
3) Low protein intake
Protein promotes the production of hormones that signal fullness and reduces the levels of hormones that stimulate hunger. As you consume more protein, your body requires fewer calories and the desire for late-night snacking decreases.
Animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, contain high amounts of protein. Other protein sources are dairy products and plant-based foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
4) Consuming too many refined carbs
Since refined carbohydrates have very limited nutritional value, they can’t keep you full in the long run. They are highly processed and have very low fiber, vitamin, and mineral levels.
You should avoid foods produced from white flour such as pasta, white bread, and other bakery products if you need to feel fuller during the day. Sugary sodas and candies fall into that group as well. Since these foods can be digested quickly, they lead to rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels, and therefore make you feel hungry after a shorter time.
You can replace these foods with vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains. These foods are still high in carbs, so they will give you the energy you need but keep your hunger under control as well.
5) Eating too quickly
Slow down while you eat! Many studies show that people who eat fast tend to get hungry more quickly than slow eaters. Eating quickly and not chewing enough create a greater appetite, making you overeat and leading to excessive weight gain.
Eating slowly and chewing more makes your brain release signals of fullness. Aim to chew every bite 30 times. If that’s not possible, try putting your fork down after every bite and pick it up again when you swallow the previous one.
An increased appetite may sometimes be caused by nutritional mistakes and can be highly reversible with these dietary changes. If your hunger persists despite these changes, there may be another underlying cause and you should consult a doctor.