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Constantly feeling hungry is not always a symptom of an illness. The reasons for this are, for example, stress or bad eating habits that you just need to change. However, sometimes this type of eating disorder can mean a disease, including the mental one. Find out what are the causes of the constant feeling of hunger.

Constantly feeling hungrymay be a symptom of stress, lack of sleep, and also of somatic diseases (e.g. diabetes) as well as mental diseases. Learnthe causes of constant hunger.

Why are you feeling hungry?

The main cause of thefeeling hungryis glucose. When blood levels decrease, appetite increases, and vice versa - when blood sugar levels increase, appetite decreases. The body's sugar detectors regularly tell the brain, specifically the hypothalamus in the center of the brain, about the amount of sugar in the blood. There is a satiety center that regulates appetite with the help of two compounds: neuropeptide Y, which informs about hunger and slows down metabolism, and neuropeptide (CART), which speeds up metabolism by suppressing appetite.

The hypothalamus also works with cholecystokinin - a hormone secreted by the walls of the small intestine under the influence of food, which causes the stomach walls to expand, giving a feeling of satiety, and serotonin - a hormone that inhibits the craving for sweets (sugars, i.e. simple carbohydrates). The hypothalamus cannot function properly without insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates glucose metabolism. Insulin activates the production of leptin in adipose tissue - a hormone that makes you feel full and inhibits the secretion of NPY (a neuropeptide responsible for increased appetite). The opposite function is played by ghrelin - the "hunger hormone" which is produced in the stomach.

Constantly feeling hungry - reasons

Regular consumption of sweet products

After consuming products containing simple carbohydrates, the level of glucose in the blood rises sharply, which in he althy people drops just as quickly. This leads to frequent feeling of hunger, and thus - constant snacking.

Eating meals at large intervals

An increased feeling of hunger may arise if you eat meals every 4-5 (or even more) hours. Lots of people strugglethen with a feeling of wolf hunger. To reduce your appetite, eat 5 meals a day regularly (at fixed times).

Constant sleeplessness

Scientists have long proven that sleep deprivation causesconstant hunger . In people who are not shed, the production of two hormones responsible for the feeling of hunger and satiety increases: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced in fat cells and high levels of leptin result in a lack of appetite.

Ghrelin is the appetite-increasing hormone that is produced in the stomach (usually when it is empty). Their functioning is disturbed in the event of a lack of sleep. Then, in people who are sleepy, there is a decrease in leptin levels and an increase in ghrelin levels. This causes a significant increase in appetite and the feeling of hunger even immediately after a meal.

Constant stress and constant hunger

In people who live under constant stress, the mechanisms responsible for the feeling of hunger and satiety are disturbed. The secretion of neuropeptide Y increases and the production of leptin decreases, which leads to a constant feeling of hunger and faster accumulation of adipose tissue.

In addition, permanent stress increases the concentration of cortisol (a hormone of the adrenal cortex). Its excess results in abdominal obesity, the accumulation of fat on the nape and insulin resistance.

Stress is also accompanied by increased production of norepinephrine, hence uncontrolled appetite, but only for simple carbohydrates, i.e. sweets. On the other hand, carbohydrates are involved in the production of serotonin, which improves mood - that's why we eat stress with sweets.

Feeling hungry during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and you feel hungry all the time, don't worry. The increase in appetite in pregnancy is due to the fact that the developing baby needs more and more nutrients. However, if you often experience hunger pangs, check for the development ofgestational diabetes .

Constantly feeling hungry may be a symptom of your illness

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

In this case, the constant feeling of hunger is caused by excessive insulin secretion, which leads to an accelerated conversion of glucose into glycogen and then into fat. In other words, what you eat is not converted into energy, but into fat, so the body constantly needs an extra dose of calories.


Hypoglycaemia is when the amount of glucose in the blood drops below 55 mg / dL (3.0 mmol / L). It is manifested by a strong feeling of hunger, weakness, nausea. Failure to react quickly can lead to comahypoglycemic.


The thyroid gland is a gland that influences the body's metabolism by secreting hormones. Hyperthyroidism is accompanied by weight loss and a constant feeling of hunger, which is related to the acceleration of metabolic processes.


Constant feeling of hunger in childrenmay be a symptom of developing a parasitic disease. Parasites mainly feed on starchy and sugar (carbohydrate) products. So if the child constantly feels the need to reach for sweets, the presence of parasites may be suspected.


It is a disease that manifests itself in the need to eat excessive amounts of food. The causes can be functional, organic or nervous (e.g. thyroid disease, parasitic diseases, pregnancy, diabetes).


People suffering from bulimia feel a constant desire to eat large amounts of caloric meals quickly and then, fearing to gain weight, induce vomiting or use laxatives. The periods of bouts of increased appetite and gluttony alternate with periods of very restrictive slimming diets.


This is a lack of satiety after a meal that occurs in mental illnesses. Patients always complain of an empty stomach and are constantly hungry.


People with hyperaphagia feel the need to swallow constantly. Persistent hunger and excessive food consumption may occur when the ventromedial part of the cerebral hypothalamus, i.e. the satiety center, is damaged (e.g. as a result of a head injury). However, this type of injury is very rare.

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