One of the most frequent questions asked of dieticians is: “Why do I keep eating even though I’m full?”
Research has shown that ghrelin, the hormone that your body produces when you are hungry, also makes you want to keep eating “pleasurable” foods when you are already full.
Ghrelin levels can be influenced by many factors, including insulin levels. As insulin levels increase, ghrelin levels decrease. The idea is that when you eat, your insulin levels rise, causing ghrelin levels in decrease. This tells your body that it should feel less hungry.
However, ghrelin levels can also be influenced by fructose, a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks. Unlike insulin, fructose has no effect on ghrelin and can cause overeating.
Other factors that can lead to overeating include stress, anger, and sadness. These negative emotions can lead you to seek food as a coping mechanism. Additionally, a chronic lack of sleep can increase ghrelin levels.
The key to overcoming compulsive eating habits is eating a balanced diet that emphasizes healthy fats, lean meats, and fresh vegetables, and restricts sugar and grains.