If you’ve increased protein intake to control hunger but you still feel hungry, this article will show you why you’re feeling hungry after eating protein.
Hunger is the main reason most people can’t lose weight. It’s virtually impossible to lose weight and keep it off if you’re always hungry.
Do a quick google search and you’ll notice that most experts recommend increasing protein intake to control hunger. Well, they’re not wrong! Studies show that a high-protein diet can reduce hunger and food intake.
However, eating more protein doesn’t always eliminate hunger. Some people feel hungry even after increasing protein intake.
This is quite unusual since protein is the most filling macronutrient.
If you’re feeling hungry after eating protein, chances are you’re doing something wrong. Here are possible reasons why you’re hungry on a high-protein diet.
You’re not eating enough
It’s possible that you’re not eating enough, especially if you recently increased protein intake. Switching to a high-protein diet encourages low intake of carbs and fats and this may significantly reduce your food intake.
Make sure you eat enough food even if you’re trying to lose weight. Calculate your BMR and then maintain a calorie deficit of fewer than 500 calories.
If you’re still hungry, eat more high-volume, low-calorie foods like veggies and legumes.
You’re eating the wrong protein
Not all protein is created equal. Some protein foods trigger hunger while others keep us full for long.
Liquid protein such as protein shakes and yogurt will make you feel hungry faster than solid protein such as chicken, beef, eggs, and beans.
It’s also worth mentioning that most liquid protein contains sugar, which is known to increase hunger.
You have increased-cravings
Sometimes we think we’re physically hungry but in reality, we are just craving certain foods. It’s highly likely that you’ll crave the foods you used to eat before transitioning to a high-protein diet.
If your stomach is growling after eating protein, it means you’re hungry. But if you want to eat a cookie or ice cream right after eating, that’s a sign you have increased-cravings.
Cravings pass when we ignore them. So keep yourself distracted when cravings kick in.
You’re not eating enough fiber
Increasing protein intake won’t fix all your hunger issues. You still need to eat high-fiber foods.
Fiber reduces hunger and improves digestion. Unfortunately, most people eat half the amount of fiber they need. Women should eat 25 grams a day while men need 38 grams a day.
Combining protein with high-fiber foods will definitely keep hunger at bay. A good meal combination would be chicken, broccoli, and avocado. This meal will give you fiber and the much-needed healthy fats.
You’re not drinking water before meals
It’s important to drink water before means if you want to control hunger. Studies show that drinking water before meals increases satiety and enhances weight loss.
In fact, one study found that participants, who drank a half a liter of water 30 minutes before every meal, lost 44 percent more weight compared to participants who didn’t drink water before meals.
You should also drink water if you feel hungry after eating protein. Sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger.
You’re not eating healthy fats
Most people assume that cutting out carbs and increasing protein intake is all they need to do to control hunger. But the truth is low fat intake can increase hunger.
Studies show that fats slow digestion and increase satiety. You’ll stay full longer if you eat protein with fats as opposed to eating protein alone. Add these healthy fats to your diet.
Your body hasn’t adjusted to a high-protein diet
It takes time for the body to adjust to diet changes. Sometimes you may experience increased hunger in the first few weeks of any new diet.
If you’ve been eating a low protein diet, your body may start craving for more protein after eating, since it hasn’t been getting enough protein in the past. This may continue to happen until you get used to eating adequate protein.
You’re not getting enough sleep
If you always feel hungry after eating protein, lack of sleep could be the problem. Studies show that inadequate sleep keeps hormones unbalanced and increases appetite.
When you sleep for 6 hours or less, leptin (fullness hormone) levels drop and this results in increased hunger. Lack of sleep also raises cortisol levels, which promotes the accumulation of fat.
Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
You skip meals
Skipping meals to lose weight is a bad weight loss strategy unless you’re doing intermittent fasting.
Skipping meals will make you feel hungrier in the next meal. Avoid skipping meals and maintain a consistent meal schedule.
Don’t worry too much about the number of times you eat in a day. Research shows that meal frequency doesn’t affect weight loss. It’s not the number of times you eat that matters, but the number of calories you consume.
Stress can increase hunger or even trigger binge eating. When we are stressed, cortisol levels rise and this increases appetite. If not managed, stress can cause weight gain and other health issues.
If you suspect that stress is making you hungry after eating protein, find ways to manage it. Exercise, meditation, walking, and yoga help relieve stress.
You’ve started exercising
Exercise increases your daily caloric needs, which means you need to eat more. Eating the same amount of food you ate before you started exercising can make you feel hungry all the time.
Now, I’m not saying you munch on everything in sight. Eating too much can add back all the calories burned during exercise. Snacking on apples, pears, and bananas between meals is a great way to control hunger without excess calories.
The truth is increasing protein intake can help control hunger but it’s not a magical fix to all hunger issues. Other habits that like eating high-fiber foods and drinking water before meals also help reduce hunger.
Don’t eat every time you feel hungry. If you learn to ignore mild hunger, you’ll stop feeling hungry all the time.