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What’s that noise?

It sounds familiar–and it feels like it originated in your stomach–so then it must be–Hunger pangs!

But why would hunger pangs start rumbling like an active volcano in your stomach just a few hours after eating a four-course meal? Is your stomach really growling and grumbling because it needs food?

Probably not–and here’s why:

1. Leptin (suppresses hunger) and ghrelin (stimulates hunger) are two hormones responsible for controlling sensations of fullness and hunger. When you do not get enough sleep (less than six or seven hours), your body requires more energy to function normally. This “need for speed” encourages release of extra ghrelin to get you to eat energizing food. Unfortunately, when you are tired, the kind of food you crave contains the bad stuff–sugars, carbs and fats.

2. Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates will cause your blood glucose to drop significantly. Additionally, consuming cookies and pieces of leftover birthday cake not only intensifies hunger pangs but will also makes you feel tired and irritable later.

3. Undiagnosed diabetes or a thyroid disorder could make you want to eat all the time.
Hyperthyroidism will increase your appetite but you won’t gain any weight, while hunger due to unregulated blood sugar will cause you to pack on the pounds in a short period.

4. Your diet lacks protein and fiber. Protein is a macronutrient that can make you feel satiated longer than fiber and exhibits a high thermogenic effect that promotes calorie burning.

5. When your mouth is dry or your body is slightly dehydrated, you may think you are hungry when, in fact, you just need a big, cold glass of H
2O. Try drinking three or more cups of water before you grab a doughnut or other gooey snack and wait about five minutes (you can do it!). Chances are you won’t feel hungry anymore.