Why Am I Hungry After a Big Meal?

Q: The day after a big meal, I go to bed feeling stuffed and wake up hungrier than ever. Why is that? Is my stomach actually expanding? — Jessi, 30, New York

A: “I must admit that I get this sensation,” says Dr. W. Timothy Garvey, Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Chairman of the Obesity Scientific Committee for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Several Healthy Living staffers also related. So the good news is that you aren’t alone.

But there’s bad news too. You stumped our experts. “The truth is, we don’t have a rigorous scientific answer for this,” Dr. Garvey told Healthy Living, echoing a common sentiment among all the researchers with whom we spoke. There were several plausible theories.

But first, more good news: it’s not your stomach expanding. “There’s no truth to that at all,” says Dr. David Greenwald, Associate Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “It’s more likely that the stuff they ate didn’t fill them up properly. People who eat a lot, but don’t eat good things are likely to feel hungry again .”

Big meals are often celebratory, which means they may include foods that are decadent rather than nutritious: starchy vegetables like mashed potatoes, white dinner rolls, cake. Foods that fall high on the glycemic index can make your blood sugar spike, causing a surge of insulin to drag it back down. The quick vacillation in blood sugar can cause a disruption to the normal cycle of leptin — a hormone secreted by the fat cells that signals to the brain when you’ve had enough to eat. Foods that cause this type of response can encourage what is sometimes termed “fullness resistance.”

In other words, that big pasta festival for your birthday? It’ll just make you hungrier. But meals full of veggies, whole grains and lean protein may not create the same effect. Then again, “people who are eating vegetables, leafy salads are probably not overeating,” adds Greenwald.

Still, Garvey wasn’t convinced that leptin and insulin were the culprits here. It takes weeks for leptin production to respond to a dietary change because it’s related to the size of fat cells, rather than the contents of a single meal. Instead, he suspected that ghrelin, a completely different hunger hormone that controls short-term regulation might be responsible.

“Leptin is a long-term regulatory hormone. It increases overall the amount of calories you take in. If your fat cells get bigger, they make more leptin and that suppresses appetite. If fat cells shrink, they make less leptin and that stimulates appetite,” he explains.

“But ghrelin is a hormone that is secreted by the stomach. When you eat something, ghrelin is suppressed, making you not want to eat more. As time progresses after meal, after several hours, ghrelin rises,” he says. “Some people have more rapid and pronounced rises in ghrelin in response to what they eat and that makes them want to eat more.”

So what can a person do to avoid the dreaded after-binge binge? Of course, the most obvious advice is to avoid it in the first place: reasonable portions can be celebratory too. Choose foods that will keep you full longer: things that are high-volume and low-calorie, like leafy greens, and full of protein and fiber, like beans.

Beyond that, all you can do is some damage control: eat a sensible, filling breakfast (oatmeal! egg-veggie scrambles!) and know that the increased hunger will pass.

More from The Huffington Post:

How to Avoid Overeating

6 Ways to Avoid Overeating

5 Reasons You Are Still Hungry After Dinner

I hear this SO many times, girls saying they ate their dinner and could eat another meal because they still feel hungry! Many times it takes your body a little bit longer to recognise that it is full. However you also may be eating certain things that are causing you to feel hungry.
Jump to:

  • You Skipped Breakfast
  • Soft Drinks
  • You Are Dehydrated
  • You Didn’t Eat Your Greens
  • Boredom

Why You’re Hungry After Eating Dinner

Here are five of the most common reasons you are still hungry after eating dinner.

You Skipped Breakfast

I can’t stress the importance of breakfast enough! If you skipped breakfast, or didn’t have enough of it, your blood sugar levels have probably spiked a few times throughout the day – leaving you feeling hungry and craving food. The trick is to make sure you are eating a big breakfast, filled with wholegrains and protein. This will help to keep you feeling full throughout the WHOLE day!

Drinking Soft Drinks

Drinking sodas, juices and other drinks that are high in sugar can reduce blood flow to and activity of the part of the brain that regulates our appetite. Fructose, in particular, can trick your brain into thinking that your body needs more food, when you have already eaten. It does this by slowing down the body’s ability to use leptin, a hormone that let’s us know when we are full. So skip the soft drinks, especially at meal times, as they are essentially empty calories and provide you with no nutritional benefit.

You Are Dehydrated

Sometimes we may be dehydrated and not even know it. If you are slightly dehydrated you will feel the same way as when you are hungry, and most of the time it is hard to tell between the two. If you are still feeling hungry after dinner, try drinking a glass of water and see how you feel in 15 minutes.

It is true that your stomach changes in size when hungry or full. The stomach contracts as a meal is digested to help move food towards the intestines. It rumbles as air and food move around as food is pushed down, a phenomenon called borborygmus, which is often our first cue that we might be hungry because it is audible and physical. After rumbling, the stomach then expands again in preparation for eating – this is initiated by hormones.

You might also like:

  • Why humans evovled to drink cow’s milk
  • Can drinking wine be good for you?
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But it is not really true that eating stretches the stomach. The stomach is very elastic, so will return to its resting capacity (about 1-2 litres) after a big meal. In fact, most people’s stomachs are pretty similar in capacity – neither height nor weight have an effect.

What we might not be conscious of is the release of our hunger hormones: NPY and AgRP from the hypothalamus, and ghrelin from the stomach. Ghrelin is released when the stomach is empty and stimulates the production of NPY and AgRP in our brain. These two hormones are responsible for creating the feeling of hunger and overriding the hormones that give us the sense of being satisfied.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, ghrelin levels tend to be higher in lean individuals and lower in people with obesity. You might expect that a hormone that stimulates hunger would be more present in people who eat more – but this contradiction probably reflects how complicated our endocrine system is.

While only three hormones are largely responsible for generating feelings of hunger, a dozen or so are required to make us feel sated. A couple of them, GIP and GLP-1, are responsible for stimulating the production of insulin to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates. Several more hormones are involved in slowing down the movement of food through our stomach, to give our bodies time to digest the food. For those people with obesity who have low levels of ghrelin, it might be that high levels of insulin, needed to metabolise a high-carbohydrate diet, are inhibiting production of ghrelin.

Two are key to reducing the feeling of hunger: CKK and PYY. In patients who have a gastric band fitted, which reduces the size of the stomach, PYY is particularly high. This contributes to a loss of appetite.

Why You’re Always Hungry After Breakfast

POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Barnes

You woke up, ate breakfast, and went to work-but as soon as you head into that first meeting of the day, your tummy starts to grumble and your energy levels start to plummet. Needing to eat again so close after your first meal is not going to help you lose or maintain your weight, so WTH! If you’re hungry soon after eating breakfast, here’s why.

You’re Not Eating Enough Calories

Your first meal of the day should range between 300 and 400 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with the 300 to 350 range, and if you’re trying to maintain weight, especially if you’re working out, shoot closer to 350 to 400 calories. This is the perfect amount to fill you up and ensure you feel hungry for a small snack or your lunch.

You’re Missing 1 of These 4 Things

What you eat is even more important than how much. According to nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., of C&J Nutrition, ensure that every meal contains protein to stave off hunger, carbs to give you energy, and healthy fats to help your meal feel more satiating. Aim for at least 13 to 20 grams of protein, 40 to 55 grams of carbs, and 10 to 15 grams of healthy fats. Fiber is important too since it adds to that “I’m full” feeling, so make sure your meal offers around six grams.

You’re Eating This

A bagel and cream cheese, toast, pancakes, oatmeal, a bowl of cereal-these are pretty popular breakfast choices, but they aren’t the best for satiating your hunger since they don’t offer all the four essentials mentioned above. Loading up on sugary foods such as iced scones, muffins, or some granola bars will also leave you hungry since they offer a quick burst of energy that will soon come crashing down. If you can’t give up these sweet treats, find ways to make them more filling, such as this recipe for banana bread that includes protein powder and flaxmeal.

You’re Mistaking Symptoms For Hunger

Headaches, fatigue, and fogginess can all make you feel the tell-tale signs of hunger, but could actually signal something else entirely. Feeling hungry can actually mean that you need more sleep at night, you’re coming down with something, you’re dehydrated, you’re PMS-ing, you ate too much sugar, or your blood sugar levels are starting to drop. Take a second to think about how you’re feeling and if you’re actually hungry before you reach for something to eat.

You’re in Need of a Snack

Your breakfast should fill you up for three to four hours. If you went lighter at breakfast or ate early in the morning you’ll feel hungry before lunch, and that’s OK. That’s what midmorning snacks are for. Grab a little something that offers protein, carbs, and healthy fats, and keep it to under 150 calories-these protein balls are perfect.

A Few Good Breakfasts

It doesn’t take much to have a better breakfast, so if you’re unsure about what to eat, here are some great choices.

Eggs with toast and fruit:Go for two scrambled eggs, a slice of whole-wheat toast smeared with a small scoop of avocado or nut butter, and half a cup of fruit.

Smoothies: This carrot cake smoothie is a quick and filling meal that offers 19 grams of protein, and because it tastes like dessert, it’s a good option if you’re used to eating sweet baked goods for breakfast.

Oatmeal: This alone won’t offer enough protein, so cook yours with milk or soy milk instead of water, and stir in some protein powder, nut butter, or yogurt to up the protein. Top with fresh fruit, flax or chia seeds, and nuts.

Yogurt: Grab a container of yogurt and mix in fresh fruit, chopped walnuts, and granola.

  • By Jenny Sugar for POPSUGAR Fitness

Why you don’t always feel full after eating, according to a dietitian

It’s not uncommon to still feel hungry after finishing a meal. Peter Kramer/Getty Images

  • Feeling hungry even after eating a full meal is fairly common.
  • If you feel hungry after a meal, it’s possible that your meal didn’t contain enough protein, fiber, or healthy fats.
  • It’s also possible to feel hungry after eating if you are dehydrated or stressed.

In most cases, the goal of eating food is to feel less hungry — or, ideally, not hungry at all — when you are done.

But, for many people, this isn’t always the case. It is possible to eat a whole meal, full of things that should fill you up, and, by the end of it, feel like you could eat a whole other meal.

If you’ve ever felt this way, you may take comfort in knowing you definitely aren’t alone. INSIDER talked with Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietician and owner of BZ Nutrition, to find out why you might not feel full after eating a meal — and what you can do about it.

Feeling satisfied after a meal doesn’t always depend on how many calories are in it

Take a look at the nutrients in the foods you’re consuming. OhEngine/

Rather, it depends on how quickly your body metabolizes the nutrients in the meal.

Our bodies break down and digest different foods at various rates,” Zeitlin told INSIDER. “Foods that take longer to break down and digest are what keep us fullest for longer periods of time.”

So, if you eat foods that get digested quickly (AKA “simple” carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta) you may feel hungry again in an hour.

The probability you’ll feel full after a meal usually depends on if the meal contains enough fiber, protein, and fat

Make sure you’re getting your fill of protein. FOX

“Feeling satiated and satisfied is the whole point of eating,” Zeitlin told INSIDER. “We want to enjoy what we’re eating, get enough energy to carry out the next few hours, and satiate our hunger.”

To accomplish this, Zeitlin recommended eating meals and snacks comprised of what she calls a “filling trinity” — fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

“Fiber (veggies, fruit, whole grains) is what will give our meal bulk and substance, protein (legumes, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken/meat, dairy) will give us that satisfied feeling, and healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil) will keep us feeling satiated for the longest amount of time,” Zeitlin told INSIDER.

Even if you’re eating enough, it’s possible that any hunger you feel after eating is due to what you’re drinking throughout the day — or, rather, not drinking throughout the day.

“Our bodies interpret thirst for hunger, so you may be feeling hungry even though you are actually thirsty,” Zeitlin told INSIDER. “If you aim to drink eight to 10 glasses of water you should be able to tell the difference between thirst and true hunger.”

Zeitlin also recommends checking in on your stress levels, especially if you know you’ve eaten enough foods with sufficiently filling nutrients that day

Stress can sometimes cause you to eat more. Sabphoto/

“Sometimes when we are stressed, depressed, bored, or anxious, we turn to some extra snacking/eating despite not truly being hungry,” Zeitlin told INSIDER. “So if you’re feeling hungry immediately after your meal, then ask yourself if you ate the right combo and then if you’ve been drinking enough water. If both of those things have been on point, then ask yourself, ‘am I really hungry or is it residual stress?'”

If you aren’t quite sure, try to take a quick walk, chat with a friend, or any other technique you use to combat stress. This may lessen your anxiety, which, in turn, could make the desire to snack go away.

Read more: There’s a biological reason why we eat more when we’re stressed — and it has a lot to do with sleep

Of course, if you still feel hungry, it’s possible that you simply haven’t eaten enough that day

Try eating a few smaller meals throughout the day. SG SHOT/

If that’s the case, there’s no reason to deny yourself food.

“If you skip meals during the day, you are guaranteeing that you will feel ravenous at the next meal you eat and are bound to overeat and feel like you can’t fill up,” Zeitlin told INSIDER. “Eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day will get your hunger back on track and get you more aware of where your hunger is coming from so that you can give your body what it actually needs.”

To avoid hunger confusion, Zeitlin recommended eating three or four small meals and/or snacks a day.

“This will help to keep your body feeling fuller (and more energetic) throughout the day and work as an innate guide to finding your true hunger pangs,” she told INSIDER.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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So you ate breakfast and 2 hours later you are hungry again. Does this happen to you?

As many of you already know, I had a large weight loss clinic in the late 1990’s and also helped a few hundred professional UFC fighters, boxers and wrestlers make weight for events between 2006 and 2012.

I always had a lot of questions about eating multiple meals per day or eating fewer meals per day. The biggest question revolved around eating breakfast.

Should I eat it? Should I skip it? Will not eating it hurt me or help me?

Short Answer: It is not important to eat breakfast.

Interesting Point #1: Most of my successful weight loss clients chose not to eat breakfast.

Does eating breakfast actually make you hungrier?

Answer: Yes, many people feel that eating breakfast makes them hungrier throughout the day compared to when they skip breakfast.

Science behind eating breakfast:

Your adrenal glands secrete a hormone called cortisol, which increases in the morning right before you wake up. Cortisol gets you up and gets you going. High cortisol levels are also related to higher insulin levels. So, when cortisol levels are high, insulin levels tend to be high.

When you eat, your insulin levels go up, which means blood sugar goes down from the increased insulin levels. As blood sugar goes down, hunger increases. This whole process of high insulin accompanied by a rapid decrease in blood sugar levels is most pronounced in the morning after eating.

Later in the day, cortisol levels are lower, which means insulin levels are lower. Eating during this time would cause less hunger than eating when cortisol and insulin levels are higher (in the morning).

Another note: lack of sleep also causes high cortisol, which makes you hungry.


For many people, not eating in the morning is a great way to decrease hunger making it easier to stick with a long-term weight loss and weight management program.

However, If you are one of those people that really feel like that must eat in the morning, I suggest reading this article and applying these strategies

For detailed information on intermittent fasting and applying a fat loss strategy, I suggest you read my book Fat Loss The Truth

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A year without breakfast

Sep 4, 2013 in nutrition

About a year ago, I gave up breakfast. The truth is, I’ve never liked breakfast. When I wake up, I’m not hungry. Why should I eat? However, breakfast is important, right? Everybody knows, breakfast is the most important meal in the day. Not eating breakfast is associated with all sorts of ills . It will make you fat. It will give you heart disease. Why would anybody in their right mind not have breakfast?

Well, two things happened about a year ago that made me change my mind. First, I learned about the recent trend of intermittent fasting, which basically amounts to not eating for extended periods of time on a somewhat regular schedule. One of the most popular schedules for intermittent fasting is 16/8, which means that every day you fast for 16 hours and then you have an 8 hour window in which you’re allowed to eat. If you do the math, if you skip breakfast, have lunch at noon, and finish dinner before 8pm, you’re on a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule. So 16/8 intermittent fasting is really just a fancy term for “skipping breakfast.” Second, and more importantly, I read this life-changing article: “Why does breakfast make me hungry?” This article, written by one of the leading intermittent fasting proponents, explains in detail the hormonal reasons that cause some people to get really hungry shortly after breakfast. In fact, I had always noticed that I got really hungry about an hour or so after having had breakfast. And it didn’t seem to matter much what I ate, or how much I ate, for breakfast. I would be reliably hungry around 10am-11am. (I’m not an early riser.) So clearly, what was written in this article held true for me.

Now, between having a solid scientific explanation for why breakfast seemed to make me more not less hungry and a cool name for my new habit of not eating breakfast, I decided to take the plunge with 16/8 intermittent fasting. I haven’t had more than maybe 5-10 breakfasts, total, over the last year. Well, technically, my break fast is the first meal I eat after fasting, regardless of the time. So to be more precise, I haven’t eaten before noon more than maybe 5-10 times, total, over the last year. When I started out, I would have coffee with some cream in the morning, so I had a small caloric intake shortly after waking up. But lately I’ve given that up as well. I now take my coffee black.

What has been the outcome of this experiment? If you google “intermittent fasting,” you can read about all sorts of demonstrated or plausible health benefits, such as increased insulin sensitivity, improved body composition, or neuroprotection. But I don’t want to talk about that here. Instead, I want to talk about how it has affected me, personally, in my day-to-day life.

Most importantly, my dependency on regular feeding has gone way down. Do you ever have the sense of “I’m starving; my brain is going to stop functioning unless I get food right now?” I used to have these sensations all the time. But if you think about it, it can’t be true. Unless you’re anorexic, if you live in the civilized world you’re not about to starve. You’re not about to starve if you haven’t had food for a day. Realistically, you’re not about to starve if you haven’t had food for a week. You’re certainly not about to starve if you haven’t had food for a few hours. So why would your body tell you so? Because after years of around-the-clock feeding, after rarely if ever experiencing more than a few hours in the non-fed state, your body has forgotten how to make effective use of its energy reserves. The required genes are not turned on. You can’t burn the layer of fat on your belly, even though it’s there. So your body screams for food. I know mine used to. Now, after a year of intermittent fasting, I don’t usually have this issue anymore. I’m certainly not hungry during my regular fasting window. And even if I have to fast longer, for example because I really have to get something done and can’t eat at my regular lunch hour, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just keep going, and I eat when I can. I also don’t usually snack anymore. Why should I need a snack if I’ve just eaten a few hours earlier? My body isn’t even done digesting yet.

The other huge benefit is all the extra time I now have that I’m not spending on thinking about getting food, procuring food, preparing food, eating food. After getting out of bed, I usually have at least six waking hours before I first seriously think about eating. That’s a lot of productive time. Once you start cutting meals, you start realizing how much time and effort they require. Now mind you, I like to eat, and I like to prepare food. But once or twice a day is plenty.

I also don’t really experience afternoon slumps anymore. I feel overall much more awake. I have to add the caveat, though, that concomitantly with intermittent fasting I’ve also reduced my carb intake, a lot. Metabolically, the fasted state and the state on a low-carb, high-fat diet are very similar, so it’s hard to distinguish which intervention has caused what.

But intermittent fasting is not all unicorns and rainbows. There are a few clear downsides that need to be mentioned. First, it took me probably 6 months to get really comfortable with extended fasts (16+ hours). Initially, there were days when I felt quite hungry, when I was literally looking at the clock waiting for my feeding window to open up. Second, on an intermittent fasting protocol, when you eat, you need to EAT. I usually have two meals a day; hence, each meal needs to be around 1100 Cals or so. (I don’t really keep track, but I estimate that I eat around 2200 Cals a day. Definitely not less, maybe more.) I rarely worry about excess calories when I eat, but I frequently worry about not getting sufficiently many calories. As a regular faster, when you go out to eat with your friends and family, you may find that they think you’ve gone nuts. While they barely finish their chicken breast, you order a couple of appetizers, extra butter for your steak, and some extra sides. And still you leave the restaurant hungry. Third, if you have business or social meal events during your fasting window, you have to decide whether you want to be weird and watch your company eating or rather break your fast. I’ve gotten quite good with just having a black coffee during breakfast events, but depending on your job and social demands, it could be difficult.

So, has skipping breakfast made me fat and given me heart disease? Well, I have to admit that I’ve gained about eight pounds over the last year. And I’ve also lost about an inch around my waist. That’s what they mean when they say “improved body composition.” As to heart disease, so far I’m alive and kicking. Of course I can’t promise you that I won’t drop dead from a heart attack tomorrow. I’ll take my chances, though.


That’s the kind of nonsense that frequently passes for science in the field of nutrition. Not eating breakfast is associated with all sorts of ills, mostly because both skipping breakfast and the associated ills are indicators of a stressful lifestyle and of poor eating habits. There’s absolutely no evidence that skipping breakfast in the context of a well-formulated diet and otherwise healthy lifestyle is harmful. Controlled studies generally find the opposite. For example, skipping breakfast is a simple method to control overall caloric intake.

The author of this article is quite a character. But the science is solid.

Resources > Archives > Feeling Hungry After Breakfast

Feeling Hungry After Breakfast

I’ve started to eat breakfast in the morning but I find that I’m starving again only a few hours later. Why is this?
Feeling hungry shortly after eating is most likely due to the composition of the meal. If your breakfast meals are mostly simple carbohydrates, then this can cause a spike in blood glucose, followed by a subsequent drop in blood glucose levels if a large amount of insulin is released. This is typically followed by a cyclic roller coaster ride of further hunger and cravings for carbohydrates that send a “time to eat again” signal. Simple carbohydrate breakfast items can include things like low-fiber sugared cereals, donuts, sweet rolls, muffins, bagels, toast with jelly, and juices. Although very healthy, even some fruit eaten alone can spike glucose, especially if consumed without its natural accompanying fiber – such as orange juice instead of the whole orange. These items have a high glycemic load, meaning that they quickly release sugar into the bloodstream following digestion.
Does that mean that you can never eat these items? Of course not! However, what you should be aiming for in your breakfast meal is a nutrient rich meal with a high satiety factor. Satiety is the ability of a meal to offer a feeling of prolonged and subtle fullness, satisfaction, and contentment. Including fiber, fat and/or protein in your meal can slow the overall release of glucose into the blood, thereby allowing an appropriate release of insulin and increasing the overall satiety of the meal. High fiber, low-processed carbohydrate foods – such as whole grains, usually have low glycemic loads and are packed with vitamins and minerals, thus making them healthy and nutritious food choices. Eating these healthy carbohydrates in combination with healthy fats and good protein choices can further improve the satiety of the meal. For instance, choose multi-grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or salmon, or a whole-wheat muffin or waffle with fruit spread or almond butter. I always enjoy scrambled eggs with tofu sausages or a high fiber cereal, such as grape nuts, warmed and topped with soymilk and blueberries!
You may also want to try varying the size of your breakfast meal relative to lunch or dinner. For instance, you may find that increasing the amount of food eaten at breakfast, and balancing this out by decreasing the amount of food eaten at dinner, works really well for you and your lifestyle and more closely matches your personal hunger profile.
Experiment with various combinations until you find a variety of meals that provide you with satiety for a few hours. Remember, being hungry 3 to 5 hours after eating is normal, so don’t expect that by eating breakfast you won’t be hungry again that day! Individuals vary in their sensitivity to blood glucose swings so it may take some time until you find what meals provide optimal satiety for you.
Remember these key points when planning your breakfast meal:

  • Choose high fiber, low-processed carbohydrates
  • Headache.
  • Include healthy fat and protein choices.
  • If necessary, vary breakfast portion sizes relative to other meals.
  • Make sure you enjoy eating your meal choices!

  • Recognizing Hunger Signals
  • Energy Density of Foods

Our expert, Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in the areas of exercise science/physiology. She also holds a second M.S. degree in Nutrition and is a licensed nutritionist and an ACSM certified health and fitness instructor.

Why Am I Still Hungry After Eating? (Here’s What To Do!)

Do you spend most of your day hungry? Can you eat an entire meal and STILL feel like you can down another? If so, you may have said some of these:

  • I am STARVING! I can’t stick to this diet anymore. I’m out!!
  • I am sooo hungry I could eat all day. And not just junk food either, I could literally eat ANYTHING.
  • I eat decent meals, but even after I finish, I am insanely hungry.

If this is how you feel. I know what it’s like.

…It’s discouraging,
…It’s frustrating,

Or worse: you are ready to throw in the towel!

Being hungry all the time is one of THE top reasons diets fail. But, don’t quit yet. We can fix this! And today you’re going to learn how.

Let’s talk about hunger.


But before we dive in, have you signed up for our FREE 7-day course? This is where I’ll teach you the psychology of weight loss and why getting fit isn’t just eating less and moving more. To get daily lessons delivered straight to your inbox, .

What Is Hunger Anyway?

Have you ever wondered why you get hungry?

It’s important to know what’s going on behind the scenes. When you understand what’s really happening, it’s much easier to fix the problem.

1.) The Hunger Hormone

Hunger starts with a hormone called ghrelin. Ghre—what??

Here’s what ghrelin is:

Think about the dashboard in your car. There’s a speedometer showing you how fast you’re going and a fuel gauge that tells you how much gas is in your tank. And, if you’ve ever tried to stretch a tank of gas a bit too far, you’ve seen the low fuel warning light flash.

That’s your signal to pull over and get some gas, OR get ready to start walking!

Ghrelin is known as “the hunger hormone.” And like a low fuel warning, its job is to send signals that it’s time to eat.

You’ll feel ghrelin’s effect through a gradual increase in hunger. It starts as a whisper you can barely hear from across the room and gets louder and louder until eventually, it’s shouting in your ear.

And, although hunger and a low fuel warning are similar in many ways, there is one huge difference.

If you don’t pay attention or ignore a low fuel light, you are going to get stranded on the side of the road.

But with ghrelin, what happens when it’s shouting, “IT’S TIME TO EAT!!” and you ignore it?
It quits shouting!

(Now this is important.)

Many of us never experience what actually happens when we ignore the shouting. We’re too quick to give hunger exactly what it wants.

If you have children, I know you’ll agree with me when I say…

  • It’s easy to give in when you’re toddler is throwing a fit. Right? And,
  • It’s hard to hold out and listen to the screaming and crying.

You JUST want the screaming to stop. Your blood pressure goes through the roof and you’re frustrated, so it’s tempting to just cave and give in.

But…you don’t! And why not?

Because you know what would happen if you gave in every time your kid threw a fit? You’d have an absolute monster on your hands! (Are you starting to see the parallel?)

So, as a parent, what do you do instead? You ride it out.

Sometimes it might take a few minutes for the crying to stop, and sometimes it might take twenty.

But you know you have to do it because the alternative is = a child that screams all the time!

Back To Ghrelin

Let’s take a look at a study on ghrelin and fasting.

What we see is:

  • Ghrelin increases at the times you would typically have a meal,
  • At its peak, hunger feels like it’s shouting.
  • But then, it gradually decreases WHEN you don’t give into the shouting.

Don’t Give Into The Shouting

When you extend the period of time you go without feeding the monster, it becomes less and less of a problem.

Which is great news because if you are eating less over time, then you take control over your hunger.

And what happens is:

  • You are more likely to beat that constant feeling of hunger,
  • Stick to your diet, and
  • Keep the weight off for good.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not suggesting we dive right into a three day fast.

Instead, what I’m saying is:

  • IF you still feel hungry after you have already eaten a decent meal,
  • THEN don’t give into the shouting.

Trust me. You are not going to starve. Your body WILL adjust.

Now, I realize that just knowing how hunger works isn’t a magic solution to stop being hungry.

If it were that simple, all anyone would have to do to lose weight is read this post, and…POOF! Weight loss!

The truth is: you are facing a real challenge and one that’s not easy when you go at it alone.

To recap, we covered WHY we feel hungry. Now, let’s talk about the opposite of hunger – what makes us feel satisfied.

2.) The Fullness Hormone

Ghrelin is “the hunger hormone” and Leptin is “the fullness hormone.” And like ghrelin, leptin is a signal too.

Remember your car’s fuel gauge you read about earlier? Not only does the gauge tell you when you’re running low on gas, but it also tells you when you’re full too.

But what would happen if your fuel gauge was broken?

If you ever owned a car with a broken gauge, you know the answer to this all too well! You start pumping gas and listen as hard as you can for the sound of gas as it reaches the top of the tank.

But sometimes you get distracted or forget to listen and now you are spilling fuel all over the place.

This is what it’s like when you have Leptin Resistance.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin sends a signal when it’s time to stop eating, but when you’re resistant to that signal, your body doesn’t notice it.

Again, if you have children, this is going to sound familiar. Have you ever been to a children’s birthday party, there’s screaming and chaos all around, but you don’t seem to hear any of it? THAT’s what it’s like to be leptin resistant.

The signals are there, you just don’t hear them. Your body keeps thinking, “If we don’t eat right now, we are going to STARVE!”

…So you eat more.

But, you still feel hungry.

…So you eat even more.

Right now, you might be thinking, This sounds like me, but how do I know if I’m leptin resistant? If you are overweight, chances are your body has become resistant to leptin.

So what can I do about it?

Here are:

1.) Start With A Diet You Can Actually Stick To

Before you start any diet – whether it’s Keto, Whole30, Calories In Calories Out (CICO), whatever the latest fad is or whatever popular opinion seems to be – ask yourself this one question:

Can I see myself on this diet five years from now? If the answer is No, the diet you’re on isn’t going to last. That’s why so many people jump from one diet to the next and fall into a vicious cycle of frustration and despair.

and finally stick to a plan that works – for you!

I stress “for you” because what works for your neighbor, your friend at work, or the infomercial you saw on TV – might not work for you.

You need a plan that’s built for your life, your schedule, and the foods you know you’ll eat. And that’s exactly what our coaches do! They’re not going to push you into eating a strict diet if they know it’s not going to work.

2.) Eat More Protein

You’ve heard time and time again you should add more protein to your diet, BUT so many people still leave it off their plate. So, if you’re not adding protein to your day, I’ve got a question for you, Why not?

Not only does protein help you feel fuller, it also boosts your metabolism AND helps you lose body fat.

If you’re slacking on protein, you’re missing a key ingredient in the battle against hunger. So, what are you waiting on? Make it an absolute point to eat protein at your very next meal.

3.) Fiber = Feeling Full

Feeling full means you have a good combination of Protein + Fiber + Water.

Some studies show that the more fiber you eat the fewer calories you consume because fiber makes you feel fuller.

And the good news is: when you feel satisfied you will eat less, and that’s a winning combination!

One of the best ways to get more fiber is from whole fruits and vegetables. Don’t like veggies, you say? No worries, just read, “I HATE Veggies! How Can I Lose Weight?“

4.) Slow Down, SERIOUSLY!

You’ve heard to eat slower, right? I’m sure of it.

You’ve heard tips like:

  • Put your fork down between bites,
  • Chew each bite twenty times, or
  • Take a sip of water in between bites.

In fact, if you search “weight loss tips” in Google. I’m willing to bet 99% of the articles you read will suggest some tip or tactic to eat slower.

And there’s a reason why it’s so popular. Research shows us:

  • The faster you eat, the more you eat.
  • Eating quickly is associated with weight gain. And,
  • The slower you eat, the more satisfied you feel.


After you read or hear the same advice over and over, its starts to fade into the background. And sometimes a strategy doesn’t make sense UNTIL you know why it works.

So, here’s the reason you need to slow down:

From the time you start eating, it can take twenty to thirty minutes before you start feeling satisfied.

How come? It simply takes that long for your hormones to relay the fullness signal.

So, if you’ve finished your first and second helpings AND already have the plate in the dishwasher before those twenty minutes are up, you WON’T feel satisfied.

Take slowing down seriously.

For your next meal, set a timer. See how fast you’re eating, or rather see how slow you CAN eat.

5.) Know How To Beat Emotional Eating

Emotional eating knows no bounds. And if you’re eating to mask, numb, or avoid emotions, you will never, ever feel satisfied.

Sure, you may feel better for a short period of time, but what happens after that? The hunger returns and the cravings kick in.

It’s like trying to fill a swimming pool with a leak, it will never fill until you address the leak. If you’re bored, anxious, tired, or simply seeking the pleasure or reward from eating, then you have to address the cause.

That’s why it is so important to understand what physical hunger feels like, and what emotional hunger feels like.

Want to learn more about emotional eating and how to stop? Read “The Broccoli Test: How to Stop Emotional Eating“.


Knowing what makes you hungry is one thing. Doing something about it is completely different. That’s why you need to take action, now. While it’s on your mind and motivation is high.

Don’t go another day without taking at least one step in the right direction. Signing up for our free 7-Day course is a great place to start.

It’s not just another “Eat these 10 amazing foods!” or “Do these 5 magical exercises!” We dive into:

  • What causes emotional eating,
  • Why most people can’t stick to a diet, and
  • What you can do to make your next diet the last diet you are ever on.

More Stories For You

  • Gratitude: The Secret of Happiness (And Weight Loss Success)

  • How To Change Eating Habits (Permanently)

  • I don’t have time to go to the gym. What can I do?

Why You’re Still Feeling Hungry After Eating [And How to Stop It]

You ever finish a large meal, but you still feel hungry after eating?

How can that be? Your entire purpose in eating the meal was to not feel hungry.

Not feeling full is a real problem. Especially if you’re trying to eat healthier.

You’re either going to suffer through the hunger (which will ultimately lead you back to old habits). Or you’ll keep eating and end up consuming too much food.

Well, you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy.

Glynn’s Guide: Takeaways That Won’t Fail You

  • For overweight individuals, there is a decrease in leptin sensitivity. This results in an inability to detect being full.
  • High carbohydrate meals increase serotonin output. This sends a message to our brain. This, in turn, increases our appetite for more carbs (or food in general).
  • External cues can increase our appetite, but are perceived as hunger even when we are full.
  • A sleep deficiency can increase hunger and appetite.
  • Our metabolic set point may influence hunger if you’re losing weight. In other words, you may feel sated after a meal but your body wants more calories to reach its “old” goal.

Why You Are Still Hungry After Eating

If you are still hungry after eating it is usually from one of two factors.

First, feeling hungry after eating can be caused by a decreased sensitivity to a hormone called leptin.

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells and released after you eat. It tells your brain you are no longer hungry after you have eaten. If your brain is partially “blind” to that signal, you lose the ability to feel full.

The other reason to be still hungry after eating is from eating too many carbs which creates elevated serotonin levels.

Eating a lot of carbs raises your serotonin levels. This hormone makes you feel better. Thus, this increased release raises your appetite for more carbs. Even when you should feel full after eating. Many studies have confirmed this.

A Professional Observation…

I constantly reenforce what you eat is more important than your workout to reach your fitness goals.

Over the years many clients have complained to me about feeling hungry after eating. In these cases, I’ve made several observations.

The three observations we’ll review that stand out the most are:

  1. Many people consume carbohydrates as a majority of their calories. They state they are still hungry after eating.
  2. Individuals who are overweight comment they’re sometimes still hungry after eating.
  3. Finally, individuals who eat more quality proteins and fats don’t make such comments.

Is this scientific research? No (but there’s a lot to be said for three decades of observing hundreds of cases).

So, I decided to dive back into this topic and first crack the textbooks. Then I looked over the more recent quality research to back up my observations.

There are some real connections between how our brain regulates hunger/satiety. As well as the behavior and feelings that these “signals” elicit.

There are many layers to understanding why you’re feeling hungry after eating. We will start with the complexity of communication in your central nervous system.

Let’s dig in…

Starting with the very important difference between satiety, hunger, and appetite.

What is satiety?

Satiety is a sensation that stops hunger. It’s the feeling we have when we’ve eaten enough.

You know it as the satisfaction that you’ve consumed enough food to not feel shaky, irritable or “hollow in your gut.”

Thus, if you’re still feeling hungry after eating, you are NOT satiated.

What is hunger?

Hunger is more specific than you think.

Hunger is the feeling we have when we need to eat. It is triggered by the hypothalamus as a means to regulate energy balance.

Okay, so what is appetite?

Appetite a learned response. It’s a desire to eat. We can experience an appetite without hunger and vice-versa. Sometimes appetite is the only contributing factor of feeling hungry after eating. To date, we still have more to learn about the chemical changes that influence appetite.

Appetite is typically a result of external factors and learned behavior, such as:

  • Stress
  • Mood
  • Boredom
  • Availability
  • Social pressure
  • Celebrations (always seem to involve food)

We all know the perfect example when you’ve eaten a large celebration meal. You’re totally satiated and then dessert is presented.

Bam! Now you have an appetite again based on an external factor that caused an emotional desire. No doubt, you have all experienced this feeling. And you know how powerful it is over our behavior.

A brief recap of foods journey through the GI tract

Let’s take a journey from top to bottom through the gastrointestinal tract. It obviously begins in the:

  • Mouth: chewing and initial enzymes for carbohydrate digestion introduced via saliva
  • Esophagus: passage to stomach
  • Stomach: Stomach acid denatures protein (breaks down by unraveling proteins). It also mixes and churns food into a liquid mass
  • Small Intestine: Enzymes are secreted to digest all foods to nutrient particles. Cells in the walls absorb nutrients into the blood and lymph system.
  • Large intestine: This is where water is reabsorbed as well as minerals. Bacteria use some of the nutrients to create nutrients essential to us.
  • Rectum: Stores our waste until we’re ready and able to eliminate.

The following are important to mention:

  • Liver: Produces bile, but has so many more important roles that we could do a whole other article on in the future. I believe it is the most important organ in the body.
  • Gallbladder: stores our bile until it’s needed.
  • Pancreas: Responsible for the production of insulin and enzymes for digestion. Also for the production of bicarbonate to neutralize stomach acid.

What hormones deliver the message?

The next few sections are where it gets fun if you dig physiology!

There are four very specific hormones that deliver a message to the hypothalamus. But this is only a glimpse into the complexities of the communications between the brain and the gut. We’re still learning.

Ghrelin is your hunger signal. It is a neuropeptideSome function like local hormones while others function like neurotransmitters and are made up of polypeptides (chains of amino acids). produced in the gastrointestinal tract. When the stomach is empty Ghrelin is released, promoting eating.

Leptin is made by white fat cells and circulates in the bloodstream. It reduces food intake. It binds to receptors that activate the medial hypothalamus (promotes satiety). This inhibits the lateral hypothalamus to suppress hunger. It is thought to be part of a negative feedback loop that helps with our long-term fat store “set point.” When fat increases, more leptin is released, suppressing eating. When fat stores drop, leptin levels drop. Thus reducing that feedback (which may indirectly promote eating).

Cholecystokinin (CCK) – As your gastric compartments fill CCK is released. This circulates in the bloodstream. It also stimulates vagal signals that go to the brainstem. Eating stops.

Insulin reduces food intake by binding to receptors in the medial hypothalamus. It functions similarly to leptin in suppressing eating behavior.

Ironically, in obese individuals, there’s a decrease in leptin sensitivity. This results in a mild inability to detect satiety. This may be one key factor contributing to being hungry after eating. Remember this part.

How is the brain involved?

The hypothalamus is a very important part of the brain (what part isn’t…) that regulates hunger.

In fact, it coordinates several systems into appropriate behaviors. They are the endocrine, autonomicPart of the nervous system that we have no control over, i.e, it autoregulates. and somatic motor systemsPart of the nervous system that we have full control over, e.g., using your muscles to lift something..It’s located near the base of the brain (if you’re interested). And the part of the hypothalamus that we’re concerned with is the middle region.

It is in charge of some of the items listed below:

  • Maintains homeostasis
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Helps regulate sleep
  • Has a great deal of control of the GI tract

Stimulation of this part of the hypothalamus has a cool effect. It will cause increased secretion of gastric juices and peristalsis. Peristalsis is the contraction of the muscles surrounding the GI tract. The bottom line, the middle region regulates our behaviors toward food acquisition. It also regulates the feeling of satiety, which is both perceptions.

The vagus nerve is the information highway between the gut and hypothalamus and sends the information to the medulla. Which in turn relays the information to the hypothalamus. Most importantly, the signals that regulate food intake are also responsible for the regulation of our energy balance.

In many studies, animals are given the freedom to eat whenever they like during experimentation. They still regulate their energy balance very well over a longer duration of time.

We are the same way (without outside influences). But the external influences are really strong!

What is the enteric nervous system?

This GI tract has its own “in-house” autonomic nervous system. It’s called the enteric nervous system. All we need to know is that it governs over functions of the GI tract.

One of my professors always called it our “second brain.” I’ve also heard it referred to as the “gut’s brain.”

What neurotransmitters influence our behavior toward food?

We already discussed that leptin, ghrelin, CCK, and insulin. They all play a role in delivering the message to the hypothalamus.

But what hormones affect the hypothalamus to in turn affect our behaviors?

  • Serotonin: It is a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is produced in the brainstem and specific cells in the gut. It has an influence on the enteric nervous system that resides in the GI tract. It causes contraction of the smooth muscle around the stomach. We’ll discuss this one in more detail in a moment.
  • Neuropeptide Y: It has an effect on the initiation of eating
  • Cholecystokinin (CCK): has many roles, but one is to send a signal relaying fullness or satiety to the brain.

And down the rabbit hole, we go…. The are many neurotransmitters, hormones, and interactions involved. They all play an almost endless role in our hunger and satiation behavior. In other words, there’s a lot more.

I know this is getting complicated, so bear with me and we’ll start to tie it all together soon.

Is there a difference between the sexes?

There is certainly a difference with fat-loss between the sexes. You can read more about that in my article Male vs. Female Differences in Weight Loss and Gain .

Parigi evaluated imaging differences in neuroanatomical structures between men and women. There were differences in specific parts of the brain after consuming the same meal. This led to cognitive and emotional differences. In other words, there may be an emotional difference between men and women with hunger and satiation.

Do specific macronutrients have an effect on these neurotransmitters?

You bet they do, but the one I want to focus on is serotonin.

Consuming carbohydrates stimulates the release of serotonin, but protein does not elicit such a response.

As many of you know, serotonin was once touted as our “feel good” neurotransmitter. But that is now widely refuted in the neurophysiology world.

Many studies have shown that this increased release of serotonin from carbohydrate consumption increases one’s appetite for more carbohydrates. If you track your food intake, you know exactly the feeling I’m referring to for this circumstance.

In fact, one could think of carbohydrates like a drug that elicits a desire for more carbs.

Now let’s say there is weight gain from excess food intake. This ultimately leads to a depressed sensitivity to leptin receptorsA cell or group of cells, of which there are thousands of types that receive stimuli..

Remember, leptin is the hormone that signals satiety. This should lead to a minimized feeling of satiety (you’re still feeling hungry)!

When does satiety occur?

Satiety (you feel full) occurs when CCK and leptin send a message. The message is to the hypothalamus that we have consumed enough energy to sustain life.

We’ve pointed out the effect of carbohydrates on serotonin. We also pointed out the desensitization of leptin receptors from carbohydrates. Now we can start to see that the feeling of satiety can more be overpowered by appetite.

What are “gastric juices” and what role do they play?

As we all know, gastric juices are acidic and corrosive. This is to digest protein.

Secretion of gastric juices is increased by many factors. Some relevant factors are listed below:

  • Sight and thought of food
  • Stomach distension
  • Food chemicals like caffeine

Gastric juice secretion is inhibited by some of the following factors:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Emotional upset (fear, anxiety, etc.)
  • Too much stomach acid
  • Distension of the duodenum (first part of the intestine)
  • Presence of partially digested food in the duodenum

So, can you have too much stomach acid under some circumstances? Sure.

Bacteria’s role in feeling hungry

Bacteria’s role in this whole process has real merit.

However, it’s something we’re still learning about for so many physiological applications. There is evidence that bacteria have effective influence over the hypothalamus. This happens by effecting some of our hormones and neurotransmitters in the enteric nervous system.

Carabotti, et al stated

“This interaction between microbiota and GBA appears to be bidirectional, namely through signaling from gut-microbiota to brain and from brain to gut-microbiota by means of neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links.”

This is very cool stuff!

Some CNS and GI tract disorders have been associated with disruption of the gut-brain axis and the microbiota.

But that is an article for another time.

Sleep’s effect on feeling hungry

I have to include this part since during previous literature reviews and this one.

I came across a lot of supporting studies of a scary finding. They correlate restrictions in sleep to an increased output of ghrelin (hunger neuropeptide). And also a reduction in leptin (satiety hormone).

In other words, not getting enough sleep CAN increase hunger and appetite.

7 ways to stop feeling hungry after eating:

  1. Include protein with each meal. This will slow the absorption of the food consumed.
  2. Eat your protein source first to minimize the spike in blood sugar and insulin response.
  3. Minimize or eliminate the sugar in your diet. This minimizes the elevation of serotonin as well as for better health.
  4. Drink a large glass of water with each meal. This will not only aid in the digestion of protein but to maximize feeling full.
  5. Add vegetables to every meal. This will also help to feel full longer because of the additional fiber.
  6. Avoid wolfing down your meal.
  7. Keep the sweets in your kitchen to a minimum or out of site. This will eliminate “reigniting” your appetite.

Conclusion on Why You’re Feeling Hungry After Eating

So, we’ve discussed the signals that give us a feeling of hunger.

As well as satiation and their influence on our behaviors.

We’ve concluded that hunger and appetite are two different things. They can both influence feelings and behaviors.

So, if you are consuming a high carbohydrate meal and/or are mildly overweight. There will most likely be a perception or a “feeling” of being hungry after eating.

There’s also our metabolic set point. It is the contrast between short-term and long-term metabolic needs. If you’re losing weight you may feel sated after a meal but your body wants more calories to reach its “old” goal. This plays a larger role than we once thought.

Also, external stimuli may also be giving you the feeling that you’re still hungry after eating. But this is appetite, not hunger.

Consuming fewer carbs and more protein will lead to a stronger feeling of satiety. Minimizing the behavioral response to hunger and appetite.

To sum it up…

If you’re overweight, feeling hungry after eating is often from a decreased sensitivity to leptin. Suppressing your ability to feel full.

If you’re eating a high carb diet then your serotonin level goes up. Creating an increased appetite for more carbs, rather than feeling full.

Other contributors include external cues increasing your appetite, sleep deficiency, and your metabolic set point. Reflect on your own lifestyle to identify which may be causing your issues.


What does it mean when you feel hungry after eating?

There are several potential factors. It could be due to a decreased sensitivity to leptin. Also, if the last meal was predominantly carbohydrates, the spike and then the drop in serotonin elicits cravings for more carbohydrates. This can be perceived as hunger.

What causes feeling hungry after eating?

A decreased sensitivity to leptin contributes. Too many carbohydrates stimulate the desire for more carbohydrates. A sleep deficiency decreases glucose tolerance. And external cues (commercials with tasty food for example) can give you the perception of hunger. Even if you’re full.

How do I stop feeling hungry after eating?

Make sure you’re balancing your meals with enough protein and fat. Carbohydrate heavy meals contribute to feeling hungry after eating. Also, if you’re carrying some extra weight, fat loss will help increase your sensitivity to leptin.

Why do diabetics feel hungry after eating?

Despite an elevation of blood sugar, insulin’s inability to transport the sugar into cells can create a feedback signal that promotes hunger.

How long after a meal should you feel hungry?

If your meals are properly balanced with adequate calories, the normal time should be three to five hours.

Research and Resources on Feeling Hungry After Eating

Blundell, J.E.Hill, A.J., Serotoninergic modulation of the pattern of eating and the profile of hunger-satiety in humans, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, 1987.

Brodel, Per, The Central Nervous System, Structure and Function, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Caballero, B., Brain serotonin and carbohydrate craving in obesity, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, 1987.

David E. Cummings and Joost Overduin, Gastrointestinal regulation of food intake, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, January 2007. Pg 13-23

Karine Spiegel, PhD; Esra Tasali, MD; Plamen Penev, MD, PhD; Eve Van Cauter, PhD, Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite, Annals of Internal Medicine, December 2004.

Marieb, Elaine, Human Anatomy and Physiology 3rd edition, Redwood City, CA; The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc, 1995

Marilia Carabotti,a Annunziata Scirocco,a Maria Antonietta Maselli,b and Carola Severia, The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems, Annals of Gastroenterology, 2015 Apr-Jun; 28(2): 203–209.

Paintal, A., A study of gastric stretch receptors. Their role in the peripheral mechanism of satiation of hunger and thirst, The Journal of Physiology, November 1954. Pg 255-270.

Angelo Del Parigi, Kewei Chen, Jean-François Gautier, Arline D Salbe, Richard E Pratley, Eric Ravussin, Eric M Reiman, P Antonio Tataranni, Sex differences in the human brain’s response to hunger and satiation, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 75, Issue 6, June 2002, Pages 1017–1022.

It’s one of those things that simply doesn’t make sense: you’ve just eaten a proper meal, yet still feel unsatisfied and hungry for more.

It’s a feeling many of us are familiar with, so what on earth is going on?

According to Geraldine Georgeou, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Director of Designer Diets and 40/40/20 founder, there’s a number of factors that could be to blame, and it all starts with a certain morning habit.

1. You skipped breakfast.

We all know we shouldn’t do this, but too often it can get to 11am and we realise we never did eat that muesli or smoothie we’d planned to. Not only will you be feeling very hungry in this instance, but you’ll also mess up your appetite for the rest of the day.

“Skipping breakfast, eating a small size lunch and no formal balanced snack, particularly in the afternoon, can lead to coming home from work starving and running the risk of evening bingeing on sugary foods after dinner,” says Georgeou.

Watch: Dani Venn shares her delicious lamb rendang curry recipe. (Post continues after video.)

2. You’re not snacking right.

Not snacking at all, or not picking the right snacks can cause havoc with your glucose levels which regulate our appetite.

“Not including small health snacks such as reduced fat yoghurt, fresh fruit and nuts or reduced fat cheese and wholegrain crackers in between meals throughout the day can cause glucose levels to rise and fall quickly (instead of being stable) which could stimulate excessive hunger at main meals such as dinner leading to the “nibbles” after dinner,” says Georgeou.

3. You’re dehydrated.

The feelings of dehydration are actually similar to being hungry, meaning it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. If you’re not feeling satisfied after dinner, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes to see if you are still hungry.

Drinking more water throughout the day will also reduce the risk of compulsive snacking or eating when you’re not actually hungry. (Post continues after gallery.)

Gwyneth Paltrow Tyra Banks Jennifer Aniston Nicole Richie Kim Kardashian Cameron Diaz Courteney Cox Beyonce

4. You’re not eating enough throughout the day.

It sounds obvious, but even two big meals might not be enough.

“It is important to eat low GI carbohydrates, balanced with lean protein and good fat meals throughout the day to keep your blood glucose levels steady, avoiding those peaks and troughs,” advises Georgeou.

“You should be aim to eat every three to four hours.”

5. Your dinner isn’t up to scratch.

No, not your cooking skills, but your meal’s ability to properly satisfy you and fill you up.

“If you’re not maintaining a balance of healthy fats, lean proteins and unrefined or including vegetables at each meal you’ll feel dissatisfied, which can lead to a risk of overeating and ultimately weight gain,” says Georgeou.

Always hungry after eating

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