Increased Appetite: What Causes Excessive Hunger?


Why am I always so hungry? Excessive hunger or increased appetite shortly after having a meal is known as polyphagia – the need of eating more than your normal caloric needs. Polyphagia can have pathologic causes or psychologic causes. Let’s check them out below!

Increased Appetite: 5 Reasons You’re Always Hungry

Are you feeling hungry all the time? You can put the blame on your increased appetite! Hunger and cravings are usually regulated by the interactions between digestive, nervous, and endocrine systems, sending signals to your brain to determine if it is the time to fuel.

Polyphagia, also known under the name of hyperphagia, is an intense hunger sensation that cannot be satiated by eating. People usually crave their favorite foods, and also leads to overeating. This symptom’s often linked to several conditions, mainly diabetes.

Take a look at these 5 reasons you’re always hungry, even if you just ate your meal:

1. Stress

Stress can be a trigger for your increased appetite because of the hormonal imbalances it causes. Therefore, stress-causing triggers such as illness, work, exams, etc), can lead to excessive hunger which makes one feel good after eating its favorite foods. So it works by increasing the satiety hormones and reducing the appetite increasing hormones.

2. You’re Not Eating Sufficient Proteins

Daily protein intake plays an important role in controlling hunger. Protein can significantly reduce increased appetite and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

Include protein in smaller quantities if you’re not an active person or if you’re doing an intensive workout then you’ll need more protein sources in your diet. Protein sources include tofu, beans, lentils, almonds, peanuts, nuts, eggs, low-fat cheese, fish, and lean meat.

3. Eat Enough Fiber

A healthy diet involves a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables! Increased appetite can be caused by a lack of fiber. Fiber-rich food takes more time to digest and slows down stomach emptying.

Put on your plate a source of protein, cooked veggies, and a generous portion of fresh salad. This way your body will be properly fueled and you can avoid overeating, excessive hunger after a meal, or munching on unhealthy snacks.

Also Read: Side effects of excessive salt 

4. Eat Healthy Fats 

Healthy fats are also an important part of a balanced diet. Healthy fats require time to digest and you won’t experience increased appetite after one or two hours after your last meal.

Choose the right type of fats! Not every type of fat available out there is good for you. Eat moderate quantities of extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish, and avoid refined oils because they are not good for your health.

5. You Might Not Be Sleeping Enough

Studies have shown that there is a link between increased appetite and sleep. A good quality sleep it’s needed to boost the brain and immune system functions.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the ghrelin levels increase and so does your hunger appetite. If you are sleeping enough, the leptin levels are balanced and it keeps the hunger at bay. Leptin is a hormone giving and maintains the satiety sensation

Also Read: Natural appetite suppressant herbal teas

More Causes for Excessive Hunger

Increased hunger comes and goes intermittently, or it can last persistently in the long term. These two can be caused by a specific trigger and not always results in weight 


Hyperphagia or polyphagia refers to someone who is focused only on food and eats a lot to feel satiated.

Common causes: hyperphagia, increased appetite, excessive hunger, polyphagia. Other causes include:

  • Some drugs (corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, and cyproheptadine)
  • Bulimia and anxiety
  • Diabetes (including gestational diabetes)
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia

If your increased appetite is not going away despite the fact you adopted a healthy balanced diet, we recommend seeing a specialist which can determine the root cause.

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