Hungry Even Though You Ate Just Hours Ago? Here’s Why.

by hridika ahire

Hungry Even Though You Ate Just Hours Ago? Here’s Why.

April 17, 2021

There are some people who eat little and yet feel full for hours. On the other hand, there are others who feel hungry soon after they've had a wholesome meal. If you wonder why, here's the answer.

Why Is Healthy Food Important?

Food and health go hand in hand. If you eat healthily and on time, your whole body is going to be healthy. The body needs a lot of nutrients to function correctly. If you eat well and in proportion, you can reduce the risk of physical health problems like heart diseases and diabetes. It can even have an effect on your mood. We all know at least one person or are that person that gets hangry when they don’t get food on time.   

While it’s important to get all the nutrients that food provides, it is also important to know how much you should eat and at what time, depending on your body type. Everybody is different and therefore their needs are different. You cannot look at one person and their dietary habits and conclude that their diet is going to work for you as well. We have seen so many skinny people that eat a lot and not gain any weight and we have seen people who barely eat but still gain a lot of weight. There is nothing wrong with eating whatever you want. What is important, is knowing your body and the metabolism that affects the weight fluctuations.

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Blood Sugar Dip Causes Hunger

At times you may feel hungry even when you have just eaten. It doesn’t matter what you eat or drink, then hunger just never really goes away. Have you wondered why? If so, you are in luck because some researchers have found how the big dips in sugar levels cause you to be hungry all the time.

A team of researchers from King’s College, University of Nottingham, London, and health science company ZOE, including scientists from Harvard Medical School, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Leeds University, and Lund University in Sweden, conducted a research to find out why some people end up feeling hungrier even after they’ve eaten just a few hours ago. Due to this condition, it becomes difficult for some people to shed the extra kilos even when they are on diet. The results of the study were published in Nature Metabolism from PREDICT, which is the largest nutritional research program in the world.

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The Study

For the study, the researchers choose 1,070 people over a period of two weeks. The researchers would collect detailed data about blood sugar responses and other health markers from these people after they had standardized breakfasts and freely chosen meals. There were about 8,000 breakfasts and 70,000 meals in total. The standard breakfast included muffins that contained the same number of calories for all the participants but varied in composition in terms of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fibre.

In order to measure how well their bodies processed sugar, the participants would also carry out a fasting blood sugar response test also known as the oral glucose tolerance test. To monitor the fluctuations in the sugar levels, participants had to wear stick-on continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for the entire duration of the study. They also had wearable devices to monitor activity and sleep. The participants would also keep a record of the level of hunger and alertness using a phone app and they had to record exactly what they ate and when throughout the day.

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The Results

 After the team analyzed the data, they noticed that some people experienced major “sugar dips” 2 to 4 hours after the initial peak, where the blood sugar levels would fall rapidly below the baseline before they came back up. The people who experienced big dips in the sugar levels had a 9% increase in hunger and would wait half an hour lesser on average before their next meal as compared to the little dippers. This would happen even though they all had exactly the same amount of food.

After 3-4 hours of having breakfast, it was noticed that the big dippers would eat 75 more calories and around 312 calories more throughout the day as compared to little dippers. This type of behavior causes one to gain 20 pounds of weight over a year. If the blood glucose number is over 140 mg/dL causes a condition called hyperglycemia. Excessive hunger tends to start if the blood sugar level rises over 250 mg/dL. Therefore, high blood sugar can cause a toxic cycle because as you eat more and more, the blood sugar becomes higher and causes unsatisfied cravings.


Researchers Comments

According to Dr. Sarah Berry. King’s College, London “It has long been suspected that blood sugar levels play an important role in controlling hunger, but the results from previous studies have been inconclusive.” She also said, “We have now shown that sugar dips are a better predictor of hunger and subsequent calorie intake than the initial blood sugar peak response after eating, changing how we think about the relationship between blood sugar levels and the food we eat.”

The leader of the study, Professor Ana Valdes, School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham said “Many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off, and just a few hundred extra calories every day can add up to several pounds of weight gain over a year. Our discovery that the size of sugar dips after eating has such a big impact on hunger and appetite has great potential for helping people understand and control their weight and long-term health.”

Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy

The researcher also found that there was no direct relationship between age, body weight, or BMI and being a big dipper or a little dipper. However, males had slightly larger dips than females on average. There was even a difference between the size of the dips experienced by each participant which suggested that the amount of dip in the sugar levels depends on the metabolism of the people.

Everyone is made differently. You may have seen a heavier person do certain physical activities and not be tried whereas a thinner person cannot do the same activity without wanting to give up. This happens only because of the endurance of the person and has nothing to do with the size of the person. It about time we break such stereotypes don’t you think? We however do urge you to eat healthy only because every type of food is rich in some or the other vitamin and in times like COVID, it is very important that you eat healthily.


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