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“Why Am I So Hungry?” Said Many A Pregnant Woman!

“Why Am I So Hungry?” Said Many A Pregnant Woman!

You know you don’t need to eat for two, but your body seems to have ignored that directive and your appetite seems to have increased ten-fold. It’s confusing and potentially a little bit concerning if you are watching the scales edge up more quickly than expected during your pregnancy journey.

This is the work of three hormones in your body; insulin, ghrelin and leptin. These hormones control hunger and are significantly impacted by pregnancy. The one that can have a significant impact on appetite and your overall metabolic health throughout your pregnancy is insulin; the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body to use the glucose stored within carbohydrates in food as energy. Insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in the normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin.

During pregnancy your body can become less sensitive to insulin, which prompts the pancreas to secrete more insulin, especially when you eat a meal high in refined or “simple” carbohydrates such as white pasta, white bread, commercial cakes and biscuits, chocolate bars.

Higher circulating levels of insulin result in blood sugar levels becoming lower, sometimes lower than your body would like them to be. When this over-correction occurs your body signals a need for more food (hunger) and the cycle of eating to correct blood sugar levels begins.

The more your blood sugar levels fluctuate, the more your appetite is going to be stimulated and the more you are likely to eat whether your body requires the additional fuel or not.

To stabilise your blood sugar levels and decrease the level of blood sugar fluctuation that could be influencing your increased appetite try;

1. Having protein with all meals. This will help minimise the spike in insulin levels and keep your hunger at a more even keel throughout the day. Eggs, plain Greek yoghurt, nuts, small quantity of high-quality lean meat, tofu are all high-quality protein sources.

2. Stay away from refined-carbohydrate-only meals and snacks such as cereal, a bowl of pasta, crackers, chips, cakes, sweet biscuits and starchy snacks. Even having a healthy snack such as fruit alone can trigger a spike and a drop-in insulin, so add some nuts or a piece of cheese with the fruit.

3. Create meals and eat foods that are high in fibre to address your hunger as these release their glucose content more slowly resulting in less blood sugar spikes.

I hope this information helps you in your pregnancy and post-natal journey. It is amazing what the female body achieves through pregnancy and during the initial 1-2 years of motherhood. Do your best to nourish your body well so it can do the big job it has to do as best it can.

If you have any queries regarding this information, please don’t hesitate to contact me via nereda.merrin@thebalancedbody.com.au or +61 419 358 465.

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