You’re always eating, but always hungry. What’s going on?
If you are hungry all day, you are likely not giving your body the three things it needs to shut down hunger and cravings.
Getting control of hunger is possible when you have the right amounts of fiber, nutrients, and fat in your diet.
When you have these things in place, weight loss becomes much easier, more effective and much more enjoyable.
Always Eating but Always Hungry [Video]
In this video, I share how fat, fiber, and nutrients control hunger and how to get the right amounts of each in your diet.
Controlling Hunger with Fiber
Let’s start with fiber.
Fiber is only found in plant foods.
You can think of it as the tough part of the plant, so think of the crunch when you bite into celery or the peel of an apple.
Fiber is hard to digest, so it slows digestion, leaving you feeling full longer.
Controlling Hunger with Nutrients
Foods that are high in nutrients also help keep hunger away, not by slowing digestion, but by satisfying your body’s needs.
Receptors in your small intestine monitor the nutrients passing into your body, and if there is a sufficient amount that information is passed on to your brain which says basically,
“We’re good here! We have the vitamins and minerals we need, so we don’t need to bring in any more food into this person. We’ll go ahead and shut down hunger and cravings.”
Fiber and nutrients often go hand-in-hand.
High fiber foods are often high in nutrients, so if you choose correctly, you get double the hunger control for very few calories or carbohydrates, and that right balance of fiber to carbs is going to help you lose weight.
I will show you some foods that have this right fiber-to-carb balance in a moment, but first, let’s look at fat content in your diet and how it helps control hunger.
Controlling Hunger with Dietary Fats
It’s tempting to cut fats out of your diet because these foods are very calorie-dense.
But, if you cut out nuts or seeds, avocados or other foods with a high-fat content thinking you’ll save a few calories, what you are really doing is inviting hunger.
Without fat in your diet, you’re reduced to using willpower to get past hunger.
If you try to ignore hunger, it will only intensify, and then you run the risk of binging because, at a certain point, your body is going to start demanding food by elevating hunger to the level of cravings.
When you’re faced with cravings, your body wants quick calories. The quickest calories are sugary carbs, so you crave cookies, cakes, and candies, making it easy to lose control.
So the takeaway is:
Don’t pick fights with your body.
You might have a good amount of willpower, but it is no match for your body’s weapons, which are hunger and cravings.
I was always hungry back then, even though I was eating all day long.
Today, I am rarely hungry and rarely feel a need to snack, and it is simply because I’m picking better foods.
When I am hungry, hunger comes on nice and slowly, kind of like a nudge telling me to go eat something.
If your hunger is not like this; if your hunger comes on quickly and screams at you to “EAT SOMETHING NOW,” then you’re not making the right food choices.
And that’s all it is, and that can be fixed. It might take your body a couple of weeks to find its balance, but it can be corrected.
So, let’s look at a practical application of this idea of picking the right foods.
Picking The Right Foods For Hunger Control
Let’s say hunger bugs you in the afternoon, and you have the choice of either a small blueberry muffin and a diet soda or an ounce of almonds and a couple of stalks of celery.
Both snacks have about 175 calories, but the muffin and diet soda have only one gram of fiber between them and 27 carbs. There are about 6 grams of fat as well.
The ounce of almonds and celery sticks have almost 5 grams of fiber and only 9 carbs with about 14 grams of fat.
The muffin is very refined, which we know because of its low fiber content, so it is going to be digested in the blink of an eye, quickly spiking your blood sugar and then causing a crash.
When your blood sugar crashes like that, your body says, “We’re in trouble, we need to get this blood sugar level up again…turn on hunger.”
You get stuck in that terrible loop of always eating and always feeling hungry.
The almonds and celery have 5 grams of fiber and only 9 carbs. That is a great fiber-to-carb ratio, so that snack is going to digest slowly and cause a nice slow rise and fall in blood sugar.
As that almond and celery snack leaves your system, your hunger will come back slowly and just nudge you saying, “Hey, it would be a good idea to eat something before too long.”
That is the nice comfortable hunger that comes from a controlled blood sugar level.
And, the number of nutrients in this whole food snack, compared to the refined muffin is much higher, so you have the added benefit of hunger control from the nutrients in the almonds and celery.
Fat + Refined Carbs = Body Fat
Now, you might be saying to yourself, what about the fat content in the muffin?
There is a fair amount of fat in the muffin, so why doesn’t that keep hunger away?
Well, in the muffin, the fat is mixed with refined carbs, and that takes away any of the hunger satisfaction you could have gotten from those fats.
Here’s the problem.
Too much refined carbohydrate causes a surge in your blood sugar, which in turn causes your pancreas to pump out insulin.
Insulin is a fat-storing hormone, it tells the fat cells to suck up excess sugar, and fatty acids from the blood.
So, the carbs and fat from the muffin are thrown into storage very quickly putting you back into the hunger cycle.
TAKEAWAY: When you eat refined carbs that are high in fat, you don’t feed your hunger, you feed your fat cells.
The fat in the almond snack stays in your digestive system longer thanks to the favorable fiber-to-carb ratio.
That good ratio slows things down and drips sugar and fatty acids into your bloodstream for a nice steady supply of energy that gets used up, instead of stored as fat.
In other words, since the almonds/celery snack digests slowly there is no surge in insulin, therefore there’s no panicked fat storage response by your body.
How Much Fat and Fiber to Add For Hunger Control
So, what is the right amount of fat and fiber to eat to get this insulin balance right and keep hunger away?
You should be aiming for at least four servings of fat a day and at least 30 grams of fiber.
That will keep hunger away, but if you are also going for weight loss, you’ll do best to pick foods that have a good fiber-to-carb ratio.
For instance, a piece of whole-grain bread might have as much fiber as an ounce of almonds, but it will come with three times the amount of carbohydrates. That is going to break down faster and cause more of a fat-storing insulin rush.
Always Hungry but Worried about Calories? Don’t Be…
Let’s touch on calories.
Calories should not be your top concern, even if you are trying to lose weight, which is a blog post for another day, but it is worth mentioning that you don’t have to eat a lot of calories to get a high-fiber diet.
This graphic shows that you can easily get 30 grams of fiber and nutrients into your day for only 615 calories.
This gives you plenty of calorie wiggle-room for fats and other nutrients.
For instance, a serving of fat has about 150 calories, so add four servings of fat from healthy fat sources like eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds and you are only at a little over 1200 calories. You’ll have a balance of all of your nutrients your body needs and you will not be hungry.
Always Hungry Wrap-Up
To stick with your diet, you need to fulfill the 3 E’s, meaning your diet needs to be easy-to-follow, effective and enjoyable.
If your diet is too low in fat, fiber, or nutrients, it is not going to be easy. It is not going to be effective, and it is certainly not going to be enjoyable.
Give your body what it needs, and it will shed pounds for you without hunger or discomfort.
It is a balancing act for sure, so if you need somewhere to start, I encourage you to watch my free video series and learn my 0,1,2,3 strategy.
Those videos show you how easy it can be to get plenty of fiber into your daily diet. They will also share more about my 3E’s strategy for weight loss.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.