Why am I hungry and so thirsty all the time? That was my question back before my celiac diagnoses. I was eating constantly, drinking water and eating ice chips all day long and still losing weight. But, there are other reasons besides celiac that could be causing your hunger.

“Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt, and it’s driven by a mix of factors, including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors, such as stress,” says Maggie Moon, RD, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist and owner of Everyday Healthy Eating.

If you’re one of those people who are always thinking about food, this may seem like a natural thing to you. However, thinking about food constantly because you’re hungry may show a bigger medical issue.

There are several conditions or issues that cause constant and ongoing feelings of starvation, and this is something you should definitely investigate with your physician. Here are some of the common problems related to the experience of chronic hunger.

5 Reasons for Out of Control Hunger

Dehydration

Many times people are dehydrated when they are experiencing hunger symptoms. The truth is, that with chronic dehydration the symptom for thirst is often misunderstood. Always being hungry combined with not drinking enough fluids, or having enough electrolytes, in your body could mean that you’re actually suffering from moderate to mild dehydration.

The easiest way to check if you’re dehydrated is to look at the color of your urine. Clear to light yellow is a fully hydrated person. Moderate to dark yellow means you definitely need to drink more water. If your urine is orange or dark brown, you should seek immediate medical attention because this is a symptom of extreme dehydration.

“Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Our brain mistakes our thirst for hunger since both are controlled by the same part of the brain, the hypothalamus. A study carried out by the Journal of Physiology & Behavior found that we mistake our thirst for hunger 60% of the time.

Water is crucial for carrying nutrients to where they need to go, and lack of water means lack of nutrients, which makes our body think it’s running low on fuel and strikes up ‘hunger pangs’.

Hyperthyroidism

If you’re eating more than usual, constantly hungry still losing weight, then you could have a problem with your thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid speeds up everything the body does. This means all of your metabolic processes will run faster than they normally would. As a result, you will find yourself with an insatiable hunger.

WebMD says that if your hunger pairs with moodiness, fatigue, brittle nails, or hair loss you could be displaying all the signs of hyperthyroidism. Having tests run by a doctor for thyroid function is the only way to be sure that you do not suffer from this medical condition.

Your Hormones are off

Besides hyperthyroidism, several hormonal conditions can affect your metabolic function. Women’s Health Magazine points to conditions like pre-diabetes and diabetes, hypoglycemia, and other insulin and glucose related issues as the main sources of hunger spikes.

Sometimes hunger hormone responses are controlled through specialized diet. If your hunger is caused by a high-refined carbohydrate diet, a nutritionist may recommend that you reduce your carbohydrate intake. In fact, eating refined carbs, such as white starches, and sugar is known to cause out of control cravings and an erratic appetite.

Reducing carbohydrates has an effect on the insulin output and uptake in your metabolism. Your hormones handle many things in your body and shouldn’t be ignored.

Too Many Carbs

Eating a meal full of carbohydrates means you’re flooding your bloodstream with sugars, especially glucose, which then alerts insulin to be released in huge amounts to take in all that glucose. And since insulin moves fast, it will take away the sugar quickly, leaving you with a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.

This triggers hunger pangs and out of control cravings. Steer clear of refined carbs, including sugar, white breads, rice, and pasta. Opt for whole grains and eat a clean diet filled with whole food, which will also improve digestion and boost metabolism.

Medications

Some medications could be increasing your appetite. The scientific explanation is that any type of medication you ingest is a chemical, which goes into your body and can create a discrepancy in your body’s natural chemical balance. If it’s a medication you need to stay on, there may not be much you can do about that, other than; a) talk to your doctor explain to him what is happening and see if there is a different medication you can try, or b) make sure that when you feel hungry you are giving your body a healthy nutritious option.

If you are hungry all the time, talk with your doctor. If he determines that there is no medical reason for your constant hunger, you may want to consider taking me up on a 20 minute free consultation to see if we would be a good fit to work together. Or you can contact me here: Contact Mary.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with five more reasons why you may be feeling hungry all the time.