Why Am I Always Hungry?

Hunger — it’s a useful, often-maligned, totally necessary human drive. It keeps your brain functioning, your muscles building, and allows you to recover after awesome physical adventures like kayaking, hiking, or a gab-fest walk around the track. And yeah, it’s also what forces you to get up from the computer you’ve been glued to for the last four hours.

So what gives when, no matter how much you eat, you always seem to be hungry? Assuming you’re not breastfeeding or have a baby on board — two things that you already know can definitely increase appetite — here are some of the most common reasons you’re hungry all the time.

1. You’re not eating enough protein.

Experts have been telling you this for years now — protein is a key macronutrient to staying healthy, and it gives you that sense of satiety or fullness, says Natalie Allen, R.D., instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University. How much you should have each day varies based on your weight and lifestyle (this calculator from the United States Department of Agriculture churns out personalized numbers), but it’s smart to try and include some in every meal. An easy trick? Pair it with stuff you’re already having. Instead of eating crackers made from refined flour all by their lonesome, pair it with protein-packed cheese (or better yet, grab whole-grain crackers instead), suggests Summer Yule, M.S., R.D., a nutrition communications specialist in Connecticut. Fan of fruit? It’s apple season, so slice one up and slather on some peanut butter for a trio of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Excerpted from Woman’s Day

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