Why Am I Always Hungry & Tired?

Constant fatigue and hunger can interfere with your ability to carry out daily tasks or to be effective at home or on the job. Both conditions can be temporary, which is normal, or chronic, lasting for days or months. If you are always tired and hungry, several factors may be to blame.

Poor Diet

Two side effects of malnutrition are hunger and fatigue. These symptoms may be a result of an unbalanced diet or a deficiency in calories, both of which can rob your body of essential nutrients. Malnutrition isn't just a problem of certain developing nations; it's a worldwide problem, according to MedlinePlus.com. You can be malnourished if you frequently go on fad diets or consume calories below the recommended daily amount. The minimum recommended number of daily calories for women is 1,200; for men, it's 1,500, according to MedlinePlus.com.

Lack of Sleep

Insufficient sleep is an obvious cause of fatigue. What can be less obvious is the underlying problem, such as a heart or lung disorder, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, or poor sleep hygiene or habits. Primary insomnia, a medical disorder that can last for months or years, can also be a factor. A lack of sleep causes your body to produce too much of the hormone that triggers hunger, called ghrelin, and too little of the appetite-suppressing hormone, called leptin.

Lack of Aerobic Exercise

Exercise boosts energy by transporting oxygen and nutrients to tissues in your body, according to MayoClinic.com. There is also evidence that exercise can suppress hunger. In a study published in the journal "AJP – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology," researchers revealed that exercising vigorously for 60 minutes on a treadmill decreased ghrelin levels and increased another appetite-suppressing hormone, called peptide YY. However, anaerobic activity -- weightlifting, in this case -- for 90 minutes only affected ghrelin levels. The researchers concluded that aerobic exercise is more effective at suppressing appetite.

Diabetes

This metabolic disorder interferes with how your body uses digested food for growth and energy. In type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin, which is needed to get glucose into cells to be used as energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it has. Hunger and fatigue are symptoms of both forms of diabetes. A simple blood test can determine whether either of these conditions is causing you to feel tired and hungry.

Caution

If you've tried to battle hunger and fatigue by adjusting your diet, improving sleep habits or exercising, and the symptoms persist, consult your doctor. The doctor can carry out a full medical checkup and recommend tests to diagnose any underlying illness.

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