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Natalia asked...

Hungry all the time

I feel hungry all the time and eat constantly, I eat variety of healthy food but in a very large quantity,also I eat cakes and chocolates everyday but I am very slim. Is this normal?

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The answer

The fact that you’re slim could point to the possibility that you aren’t eating quite as much as you may worry that you are, depending on age and activity and your own resting basal metabolic rate your body is clearly managing your intake well with your intake appearing to meet your bodys requirements rather than exceeding them.

If health wise you have no other symptoms are active and have not gone through the menopause. As this can alter and slow metabolism and change the way we store fat , you are likely to be in balance with your intake and energy needs. However, feeling hungry and not feeling full for example can be very different things and it is possible that you are simply not feeling full even after having a good sized meal and this could be driving your eating patterns. One of the many drivers for this type of eating pattern is often associated with emotions and comfort eating. You may find it useful to allow yourself to become fully hungry and then compare that sensation to how you feel when you continue to eat even after having a reasonable size meal of a less large portion. Observing how you feel may help you discern if it is true hunger or an absence of satisfaction. Occasionally there can also be a disturbance in the level of leptin in the blood, this is a hormone which signals to the brain when we have eaten enough however this is less common.

We note that you eat a healthy diet and well done for doing so, this will go a long way to keeping your weight within range of a normal limit. You may also want to ensure you are getting adequate carbohydrate intake into your meals as a low level could contribute to your need for bigger meals and sugary snacks as your body seeks to source enough energy. Current Recommended daily guidelines for carbohydrate intake are approx. 230 gm a day preferably made up of complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice and pasta etc. Equally, do bear in mind that daily sugary treats such as chocolates and cake could well be contributing to your need to eat large volumes and snacks, intake of sugar at this level will be causing your insulin levels to spike each time you have them and, as sugar is quickly metabolized the remaining insulin levels cause further hunger and a need to eat perpetuating the cycle. While you are slim sugar intake at this level can be harmful to the body by causing a build up of visceral fat around all the essential organs and this has significant implications for future health.

Any excess sugar will be converted to fat by the body and can be stored in this way so if possible we would suggest trying to keep your intake around 24 Gms a day which is approx 6 teaspoons or lower. This could help both reduce your need to snack and eat large portions whilst also improving your overall health.

If, however, after using the above information you find that there remains an issue and if you feel that you are underweight for your size then it seems sensible to have a chat with your Gp as they can arrange any tests to rule out a physical cause that might be contributing.

Most of all we would encourage you to reduce your sugar intake and increase your intake of complex carbohydrates if needed as it is there that you are most likely to see a change in how hungry you feel whilst at the same time improving your overall and future health status.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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