It turns out that the feel­ing of hunger depends not only on the amount of food you eat, but also on the qual­i­ty of your diet.

Hunger is your body’s nat­ur­al sig­nal that it needs more food. When you’re hun­gry, your stom­ach may growl, you may get a headache, you may become irri­ta­ble, or you may become less focused. Most peo­ple can go sev­er­al hours between meals before feel­ing hun­gry again, but some peo­ple start feel­ing hun­gry again almost imme­di­ate­ly after eat­ing. In this arti­cle we will look at five rea­sons why this feel­ing often occurs.

You’re not eating enough protein

Eat­ing enough pro­tein is impor­tant to con­trol your appetite. Pro­tein reduces hunger, which can help you auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­sume few­er calo­ries through­out the day. It does this by increas­ing the pro­duc­tion of hor­mones that sig­nal sati­ety and decreas­ing the lev­el of hor­mones that stim­u­late hunger.

Many foods con­tain large amounts of pro­tein, so get­ting enough of it from your diet is easy. Includ­ing a source of pro­tein at every meal can help pre­vent exces­sive hunger.

You don’t sleep enough

Ade­quate sleep is extreme­ly impor­tant for your health. It’s essen­tial for the prop­er func­tion­ing of your brain and immune sys­tem, and lack of sleep is asso­ci­at­ed with a high­er risk of a num­ber of chron­ic dis­eases, includ­ing heart dis­ease and can­cer.

In addi­tion, ade­quate sleep is an appetite con­trol fac­tor because it helps reg­u­late lev­els of ghre­lin, an appetite-stim­u­lat­ing hor­mone. Lack of sleep leads to high­er lev­els of sleep, which is why you may feel hun­gry. Get­ting enough rest also helps ensure ade­quate lev­els of lep­tin, a hor­mone that pro­motes sati­ety.

Low fat diet

Fats also play a sig­nif­i­cant role in main­tain­ing a feel­ing of full­ness. This is part­ly due to their slow pas­sage through the gas­troin­testi­nal tract, mean­ing they take longer to digest and remain in your stom­ach for a longer peri­od. Addi­tion­al­ly, eat­ing fat can release var­i­ous hor­mones that pro­mote sati­ety.

You’re not drinking enough water

Prop­er hydra­tion is incred­i­bly impor­tant for your over­all health. Drink­ing enough water has sev­er­al health ben­e­fits, includ­ing pro­mot­ing brain and heart health and opti­miz­ing exer­cise per­for­mance. Addi­tion­al­ly, water keeps your skin and diges­tive sys­tem healthy. Water can also reduce appetite when con­sumed before meals. In one study, 14 peo­ple who drank two glass­es of water before meals ate near­ly 600 few­er calo­ries than those who did­n’t drink water.

(Read also: Is it pos­si­ble to drink water while eat­ing: what sci­ence says.)

Diet lacks fiber

If you don’t have enough fiber in your diet, you may feel hun­gry often. Eat­ing plen­ty of high-fiber foods helps con­trol hunger. High-fiber foods slow down the rate of gas­tric emp­ty­ing and take longer to digest than low-fiber foods.

In addi­tion, high intake affects the release of appetite-reduc­ing hor­mones and the pro­duc­tion of short-chain fat­ty acids, which have been shown to pro­mote sati­ety. To ensure you get enough fiber, choose a diet rich in whole plant foods, such as fruits, veg­eta­bles, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.

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