Why am I so Hungry in the Evenings? The Problem Of Evening Hunger

Your “hunger hormone” levels rise and your “satiety hormone” levels drop in the evening, a study has discovered.

So is this situation just one that has to be accepted as a cost to fat loss dieting?

Is evening hunger just something that everyone who wants to get lean has to push through?

To a certain extent, yes!

No remedy will eliminate hunger.

However, the science of diet design can help reduce evening hunger in several major ways, with the result being a drastic reduction of cravings and a huge drop in the likelihood of falling off the wagon.

HORMONES THAT MAKE YOU HUNGRY RISE IN THE EVENING

Let’s take a look at the phenomenon of evening hunger and then see what steps we can take to reduce it while still dropping body fat.

Cravings

There are several reasons why evening hunger is particularly pernicious during fat loss diets:

• Most people have higher stress hormone levels in the early morning and daytime and lower stress hormone levels (such as cortisol) in the evenings. Stress hormones suppress appetite.

• Most people are busy with work or responsibilities in the mornings and afternoons. Sure, you can be hungry during this time, but the demands of workday tasks can keep you distracted from the hunger sensations to quite a large extent.

• Evenings are usually more relaxed times where you settle down to watch your favourite TV shows or hang out with family and friends. Not only are you no longer focused and distracted from hunger, but you’re engaging in the kinds of activities (TV watching and/or socializing) that are highly associated with eating lots of delicious food.

• For those who drink caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, diet sodas, energy drinks), morning and afternoon hunger is a much smaller issue. Because they are under the effects of caffeine at these times, the powerful hunger-suppressing effects of this substance make cravings much less likely. However, most people taper their caffeine use in the evenings so that they can fall asleep at night.

Falling asleep requires relaxation, which is the opposite of willful effort! If you’re hungry during the day, you can get through by sheer willpower. But if you’re hungry at bedtime, can you will yourself to sleep? Unfortunately, “willing yourself to sleep” is an internal contradiction.

Related: The Importance of Sleep

What Can be Done to Help?

For many dieters, evening hunger can be a great hindrance to both diet progress and mental sanity. Luckily, science can help. There are no less than 5 different diet manipulations you can employ to make your fat loss diet much less susceptible causing to bouts of evening hunger. Make any or all of the following changes to your diet, and your evening hunger problems will decline.

Plant protein

1.More protein

Of all of the macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. That’s right, per unit of calories, protein fills you up the most and keeps you fuller, longer. With minimum levels of fats needed for proper body and hormonal functioning, and carbs which are effective at supplying energy and preventing muscle loss during dieting.

6 Excellent Plant Protein Foods With All The Essential Amino Acids

2.More greens and fruits

Not only are greens and other low-calorie veggies stocked full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are also incredibly filling. If you eat enough of them they can make a meal downright hard to finish! Fruits can also be consumed more at the expense of slices of bread and grains.

5 Power-packed Immune-Boosting Juices

Eating greens

3.Bigger meals at night

Simply eat bigger meals in the evening. Keep your morning meals to mostly protein and veggies, and then save more of your daily fats and carbs for the later meals. Just when you’re most prone to be hungry, you have your biggest meals of the day to eat.

Healthy Winter Special Beetroot, Carrot Tomato Soup Recipe

4.Lower palatability

When low-palatability foods (foods that are not the best tasting) are eaten, people just don’t tend to want as much of those foods, to begin with, or to have more of them later. If you eat half a cheeseburger on a diet, you might feel like you could kill someone for the other half. But eat the same calories and macros in unflavored oatmeal and egg whites with olive oil, and you’ll be happy when you’re done with the meal so that you don’t have to chew that mess anymore!

Does this mean you have to eat disgusting food during your diet? No. But it can mean that you should ease up on the tasty sauces, spices, and cheeses that make your food both high in calories and super tasty.

5.Reducing or eliminating shakes

Drinking your meals is a much easier way of getting in calories than eating them. Chewing a bunch of food can be a pain in the ass, and solid foods (especially the high volume foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies) can keep you fuller much longer than liquid foods.

Soup

If you’re particularly parched or starving come nightfall, it’s probably because you either

a) didn’t eat or drink enough earlier in the day, and/or

b) you didn’t nourish your body with enough essential vitamins and minerals

In that case, pay close attention to what foods you’re craving at night, and figure out what that means in terms of nutrients.

There’s a reason why your doctor suggests eating a well-balanced diet and drinking a ton of water: It’s because all of these different food groups will collectively nourish your body and keep you satiated. So take notice of the number of proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods you’re eating throughout the day.

Also read Reasons to Try Overnight Oats, According to Science 

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar

Real-Life Solutions For Women With PCOS

It’s always difficult for women with pcos to live a healthy life and often have good appearances.

There was this girl I came across during my first consultation with her and she was so stressed and frustrated that she stop eating food because she was gaining weight.

She didn’t understand that her hormonal imbalance can put her at higher health risk beyond the weight gain, if not controlled.

Did you feel this, too?

The solution for her came from my pcod friendly diet and lifestyle changes.

Here is how it worked for her…

What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) / polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or disease (PCOS/PCOD) is a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problem that affect women in their overall health and appearance.

Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones.

The hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be.

This hormone imbalance causes them to skip or irregular menstrual periods that can lead to:

Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

• Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries

Symptoms of PCOS include

Irregular menstrual cycle: Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.

Heavy bleeding: The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so the periods you do get can be heavier than normal.

Hair growth: Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.”

Acne: Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.

Male-pattern baldness: Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp and fall out

Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Up to 80 per cent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese

Darkening of skin: Dark patches of skin particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts

Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area

Headaches: Hormone changes can trigger a headache in some women.

How PCOS affects your body

Some of the possible complications of PCOS are:

Diabetes: More than half of women with PCOS will have diabetes or prediabetes (glucose intolerance) before the age of 40. Learn more about diabetes.

Psychological disorders: Both hormonal changes and symptoms like unwanted hair growth can negatively affect your emotions. Many with PCOS end up experiencing depression, eating disorder and anxiety.

Endometrial cancer: During ovulation, the uterine lining sheds. If you don’t ovulate every month, the lining can build up. A thickened uterine lining can increase your risk for endometrial cancer.

Pregnancy-induced or Gestational diabetes: Women with PCOS are twice as likely as women without the condition to deliver their baby prematurely. They’re also at greater risk for miscarriage or premature birth and gestational diabetes.

Hypertension: Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure compared with women of the same age without PCOS. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Infertility: Women who don’t ovulate regularly don’t release as many eggs to be fertilized. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

Metabolic syndrome: Both obesity and PCOS increase your risk for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Together, these factors are called metabolic syndrome and they increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep apnea: This condition causes repeated pauses in breathing during the night, which interrupt sleep. The risk for sleep apnea is 5 to 10 times higher in obese women with PCOS than in those without PCOS.

Unhealthy cholesterol: Women with PCOS often have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. High cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What causes PCOS /PCOD

There are no certain causes of PCOS, however, the contributing factors include:

Excess androgen: Overproduction of androgen called “male hormones,” by ovaries causes may lead to hirsutism and acne. Higher than normal androgen levels in women can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) during each menstrual cycle, two signs of PCOS.

Excess production of insulin: Insulin hormone controls the blood sugar levels in the human body. When human cells become resistant to the action of insulin, the blood sugar level increases. As a result, your insulin blood levels become higher than normal. Excessive insulin production, in turn, increases the production of androgens.

Heredity: Certain genetic correlation may exist with PCOS in women. Studies show that PCOS runs in families. It’s likely that many genes — not just one — contribute to the condition.

Presence of low-grade inflammation: Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their body. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation, that may stimulate polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.

Diet and lifestyle tips to treat PCOS

Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise. Knowing the right types of foods to eat as well as the kinds of food to limit can improve the way you feel and may help you lose weight.

Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight (or losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight) can improve PCOS symptoms.

FOODS YOU SHOULD EAT

HIGH FIBER

In order to produce productive insulin levels, it is important to load up on fibrous foods. High fibre foods help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. Great options for high-fibre foods include:

• Seeds (chia, flax, sunflower seeds)

• Legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas)

• Berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)

• Whole Grains (bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, whole oats)

LEAN PROTEIN

Eat more lean protein as they are more likely to keep you fuller for longer and prevent you from reaching for unhealthy snacks. This way, you won’t be adding up to calories and not gain weight. When it comes to protein sources, I recommend include:

• Fish (salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod)

• Lean poultry (skinless chicken and turkey)

• Plant protein sources (beans, peas, tofu, tempeh)

ANTIOXIDANTS

Since women with PCOS have been shown to have low-grade inflammation, elevated inflammatory signals can raise insulin & creating an imbalance in the hormones contributing to worsening of PCOS symptoms. Eating antioxidant-rich foods that help reduce inflammation can minimize PCOS symptoms. Load up on:

• Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries )

• Vegetables (spinach, artichokes, kale, tomatoes)

• Whole Grains (whole oats, whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice)

• Unsaturated fats (nuts like pecans, nut butter, olive oil, avocado, almonds)

FOODS YOU SHOULD AVOID OR LIMIT

REFINED CARBS

Women with PCOS do not typically process carbohydrates correctly (because of their high levels of insulin. Refined carbohydrates cause inflammation, exacerbate insulin resistance, and should be avoided or limited significantly. These include highly-processed foods, such as:

• white bread, regular pasta, pizza dough or anything made with white flour

• muffins, breakfast pastries, sweetened cereals

• White rice

SUGARY BEVERAGES

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and should be avoided wherever possible. Sugar will spike your blood sugar, a problem if you have high insulin levels, to begin with. It’s best to choose natural sugars like fruits. These are higher quality carbohydrates, and therefore are higher in fibre. Examples of sugary beverages include:

• Packed Fruit juice, cold-pressed juices

• Bottled smoothies

• Soda

SUGARY, PROCESSED FOODS

Along with sugary beverages, sugary foods are not much better for the PCOS diet. All processed foods contain harmful chemicals, which not only are poor for weight loss but can also destroy the gut microbiome. Instead of packaged foods, choose whole foods. Examples of processed foods to limit on a PCOS diet include:

• Cakes, candy, cookies, and other sweets

• Yoghurts with added sugar

• Ice cream with excess added sugar or sugar substitutes

SATURATED AND TRANS FATS

Saturated fats, found in foods like overly processed meats, aren’t beneficial for weight loss or a healthy balanced diet. Additionally, these high-fat foods can also be problematic for PCOS patients. It’s much better to focus on healthy fats. Examples of fats to avoid include:

• Saturated fats (red and processed meats like fast food hamburgers)

• Trans fats (Artificial or heavily processed cheeses)

PCOS can be a stressful condition or you may feel frustrated at times.

However, taking proactive steps regarding your health can improve your mood as well as reduce your symptoms and ensure a healthy and balanced life. If your symptoms persist, make sure you consult a Nutritionist before switching to any diet plan. They can work with you to identify the cause and recommend next steps.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar