Understanding the Never-Ending Hunger: Causes and Solutions

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • May 23, 2024

If you've ever experienced the feeling of never being full once you start eating, you're not alone. This persistent hunger can be frustrating and disheartening, especially when it seems like no matter how much you eat, the sensation of satiety remains elusive. This blog aims to dive deep into why this happens and what steps you can take to manage and overcome it.

The Role of Leptin and Insulin in Hunger

One of the primary reasons for never feeling full after eating is a potential imbalance in two critical hormones: leptin and insulin.

Leptin: The Satiety Hormone

Leptin is a hormone produced by your body's fat cells. It plays a significant role in regulating energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Essentially, leptin signals to your brain that you have enough energy stored, thus promoting feelings of fullness. However, when there is an issue with leptin signaling, this communication can be disrupted.

Leptin resistance occurs when the brain stops responding to leptin's signals. This resistance is often seen in individuals with obesity and can lead to increased hunger and food intake despite having adequate or excessive energy stores.

Insulin: The Blood Sugar Regulator

Insulin is another hormone that can influence hunger and fullness. Produced by the pancreas, insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. When you eat, insulin is released to help cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream for energy. However, when insulin levels are chronically high, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia can develop, leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause your cells to become less responsive to insulin, requiring more of it to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

High insulin levels can also affect hunger. Insulin plays a role in signaling the brain about the status of energy storage. When insulin resistance occurs, these signals can become distorted, potentially leading to increased hunger and reduced satiety.

Getting to the Root of the Problem: Testing and Diagnosis

If you suspect that leptin or insulin imbalances are contributing to your perpetual hunger, the first step is to get your fasting insulin levels checked. A fasting insulin test measures the amount of insulin in your blood after you have fasted for at least 8 hours. Elevated levels can indicate insulin resistance.

In addition to testing insulin levels, it's also beneficial to look into leptin levels and other markers of metabolic health. Working with a healthcare provider, such as an endocrinologist or a dietitian, can help you get the appropriate tests and interpret the results accurately.

Dietary Adjustments to Manage Hunger

Addressing leptin and insulin resistance often involves making strategic dietary changes. Here are some key dietary strategies to help manage persistent hunger:

Emphasize Protein Intake

Protein is a critical macronutrient that helps keep you feeling full. When you consume protein, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promotes the release of satiety hormones. Including a source of protein in every meal can significantly impact how full you feel. Good sources of protein include:

  • Lean meats (chicken, turkey, lean beef)
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese)
  • Plant-based proteins (beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh)

Opt for Lower Glycemic Foods

Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) release glucose more slowly and steadily, leading to more stable blood sugar levels. This stability can help manage insulin levels and reduce feelings of hunger. Lower glycemic foods include:

  • Whole grains (oats, quinoa, barley)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers)
  • Fruits with a low GI (berries, apples, pears)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)

Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber is another crucial component in managing hunger. It adds bulk to your meals, slows digestion, and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. High-fiber foods include:

  • Vegetables (especially leafy greens, carrots, and Brussels sprouts)
  • Fruits (especially those with edible skins like apples and pears)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
  • Nuts and seeds

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Ensuring that you are adequately hydrated can help manage your hunger cues. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables with high water content.

Nutritional Supplements: The Role of Berberine

For those dealing with high fasting insulin levels, berberine, a natural compound found in several plants, can be beneficial. Berberine has been shown to help regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce insulin resistance. It works by activating an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a role in energy balance.

Studies have demonstrated that berberine can effectively lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it a potential aid for those struggling with insulin resistance and persistent hunger. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

Lifestyle Changes to Support Hormonal Balance

Beyond dietary adjustments, certain lifestyle changes can also support hormonal balance and help manage persistent hunger:

Regular Physical Activity

Exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels. Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine, such as walking, jogging, strength training, or yoga, can have significant benefits for managing hunger and overall metabolic health.

Prioritize Sleep

Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger, including leptin and ghrelin. Ensuring that you get adequate, quality sleep each night can help maintain these hormone levels and support better appetite control.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can impact hormone levels, including cortisol, which can influence appetite and hunger. Implementing stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies can help reduce stress and its impact on hunger.

Understanding and Listening to Your Body

Everyone's body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues and make adjustments based on your individual needs. Keeping a food diary or working with a healthcare provider can help you identify patterns and make necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle.


If you find yourself never feeling full and unable to stop eating once you start, it may be due to underlying issues with leptin and insulin. By getting your fasting insulin levels checked and making strategic dietary and lifestyle changes, you can help manage your hunger and support better metabolic health. Remember to prioritize protein, opt for lower glycemic foods, increase fiber intake, stay hydrated, and consider supplements like berberine under the guidance of a healthcare provider. With these strategies, you can take control of your hunger and work towards a healthier, more balanced life.