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Diet & NutritionWellness

Reasons Why You Don’t Feel Full After Eating

6 Mins read

Do you find that you can eat a lot more than other people, and you often don’t feel full after eating a lot? Instead of feeling satisfied after eating a nutritious meal, do you find yourself wanting to eat more food? There are various reasons why people don’t feel full after eating a lot, and end up overeating. These reasons include your genetics, an imbalance of hunger hormones, your eating behaviors, the speed you eat, and more. Continued feelings of hunger after you eat could lead to overeating and weight gain, so it’s a good idea to be self-aware of this issue.

If you don’t feel full after consuming a hearty meal, below are some of the reasons for feeling like you need more food:

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1.  You Don’t Feel Full After Eating Because You Eat Too Quickly

Part of practicing good appetite control is learning how to consume your food at a slower pace. Your body’s hunger hormones can only work at a certain pace. 

If you eat too much food too quickly, within a short space of time, its difficult for your body to detect when you’re full. 

In other words, your body doesn’t have a chance to recognize that you’re full in time to stop you from overeating, because you’ve been eating too fast. You may be continuing to eat before your body registers a feeling of fullness.

Various studies show that fast eaters tend to have a higher appetite and a greater desire to overeat. In one study, faster eaters consumed around 10% more calories at mealtime, and still reported feeling less full compared to slower eaters. 

Taking the time to slow down is crucial. Try chewing your food thoroughly. Chew each bite several times. This will give your body time to register the intake of energy. It can also help to promote better by digestion, by ensuring your food is well masticated before entering the gut.

2.  You Have Genetic Condition

There’s a genetic condition which can influence your hunger levels, known as Congenital Leptin Deficiency. This prevents the adipose tissue in the body from producing the hormone required to let your body know you’re full. Without leptin, your body thinks it has scarce body fat, which means your brain is constantly receiving signals to eat more food.

Leptin, a hunger hormone made by fat cells, is known to decrease appetite. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone known to increase appetite. These ‘hunger hormones’ play a role in your appetite control.

Those with poor appetite control can partially blame their genetics. Perhaps your genetics are partially to blame for having too much ghrelin, the hunger hormone which makes you feel hungry. Then you’ll tend to eat even when they aren’t hungry, or you won’t realize when you  reach a satisfactory satiety level, which can often lead to overeating. If you don’t feel full after eating, perhaps you have too much ghrelin rather than a balanced amount of ghrelin and leptin.

This issue could result in individuals with lower appetite control gaining weight or becoming obese, subsequently putting them at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis. 

It’s also possible to have a resistance to leptin if you’re overweight. People who are obese have a lot of fatty tissues in their cells, which means they tend to produce more leptin. However, over-exposure to this hormone could create a level of resistance which makes it difficult for the brain to detect leptin.

A leptin resistance or genetic condition can be difficult to reverse, but you may be able to manage your appetite more effectively by exercising more frequently, drinking a glass of water before your meals, eating more mindfully, lowering your triglycerides, and altering your diet to include more protein and filling high-fibre meals.

Find out if you have genetic reasons for always feeling hungry by reading your reports and DNA insights from CircleDNA.

3.  You Have a Food Addiction

Food addictions are more common than you think, and this condition can make you never feel full or satisfied, and always crave food, even after a big dinner.

It’s possible that it’s in your DNA to be at higher risk of food addiction or sugar addiction. People can be biologically addicted to sugar in the same way they can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, or nicotine.

From a genetic standpoint, some people who fall victim to sugar addiction (a common form of food addiction) are people who have fewer D2 dopamine receptors, meaning that they likely need extra stimulation (in the form of a ‘sugar high’) to get a dopamine hit.

Certain gene mutations can cause lower dopamine levels and as a result, compulsive eating behaviors could develop. Your DNA also play a role in your natural ability to cope with stress. If you have a lesser ability to cope with stress, you might use food to cope with stress.

Aside from genetics, stress or clinical depression can also cause food addiction or compulsive eating.

In general, food will trigger chemical reactions in the brain’s reward center which induce those feelings of pleasure that cause compulsive eaters to chase that feeling and keep eating and eating.

Food addicts don’t feel full after eating a normal amount, and rather keep eating to get those dopamine hits.

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4.  Eating While Distracted

Failing to be mindful about your eating habits can lead to a number of problems with appetite control. If you live a busy lifestyle, you might frequently consume your meals when you’re sitting in front of the television, talking to other people, or even while you’re working. 

Eating while distracted is commonly associated with a higher appetite and higher calorie intake.

If your brain is distracted while you’re eating, this reduces your awareness of how much you’re actually consuming. It’s easy to consume an excess of calories if you’re not paying attention. You may also struggle to recognize the signals leptin sends to your brain letting you know you’re full. In one study, women who ate while distracted by another activity had a much higher desire to continue eating more throughout the day.

Try practicing mindfulness while you eat, paying attention to the sensations in your body, the flavors you experience, and what your body is telling you.

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5.  You Exercise Frequently

Exercise is a fantastic way to keep your body fit and healthy, but it also has an impact on your hunger levels and appetite. When you exercise a lot, your body consumes more energy, and needs more calories to continue working at full capacity. Research shows people who exercise on a regular basis have faster metabolisms, so they burn more calories, even at rest.

If you don’t feel full after eating, it could be because you’ve been so active that your body simply needs more food.

Although some studies show exercise is a useful way to suppress appetite, there’s also evidence that frequent, vigorous exercise can lead to greater appetites too. If you’re using more calories, you may need to simply adjust your diet to ensure you’re fueling yourself correctly for your exercise regime. Eating the right foods before a workout, such as extra protein, can increase feelings of fullness.

6.  You have a Specific Medical Condition

There are certain medical conditions which can prompt people to feel hungry more often. Consistent hunger is often a common sign of diabetes, occurring as a result of high blood sugar levels, which also lead to fatigue and thirst. People with hyperthyroidism are also more likely to feel hungry on a regular basis because they produce excess thyroid hormones, which promote hunger. Imbalances in your thyroid hormones could mean you don’t feel full after eating and want to eat more, but you could get your thyroid checked with a blood test upon your doctor’s referral.

Excessive hunger can also be a common symptom of various other conditions associated with mental health. People with medical conditions that are mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety often will frequently feel hungry. This is a result of ‘psychological hunger’, where your emotional state prompts you to eat more to battle feeligns of emptiness.

If you’re constantly hungry, and you’re experiencing other symptoms such as low mood, excessive thirst, or sudden weight loss, it’s a good idea to seek out medical advice from your doctor.

Understanding Why You’re Always Hungry

Hunger or the mystery when you don’t feel full after eating a hearty meal, have a number of different causes beyond a simple physiological need for food. If you’re constantly hungry, even after eating a nice big meal, there could be a number of issues contributing to this problem, as discussed in this article. Sometimes, hunger can even be a result of certain hormonal changes in the body.

Hormonal imbalances in the body can cause a range of health issues, including compulsive feelings of hunger.

For instance, women going through a premenstrual system tend to have appetite changes and food cravings, as do women going through pregnancy. 

However, you certainly don’t need to be pregnant to experience the health issues of hormonal imbalances.

Understanding the cause of your overeating is an important part of improving your relationship with food. If you know whether your hunger is caused by a psychological condition, your hormones, medical conditions, emotions, or even your genetic makeup, you can start working to adjust your eating habits. It may take time, but you can achieve healthier eating habits if you work towards this goal.

Team CircleDNA
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The editorial team behind CircleMagazine, dedicated to bringing you bite-size health tips, real-life health stories and the latest genetic-related findings at this digital health hub.
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