When switching to a vegan diet, many people feel that satiety does not last long and that they are constantly hungry.
Whether you are considering going vegan or are interested in adopting a healthier lifestyle, you must know your nutritional needs and change your eating habits.
When it comes to veganism, if you are not careful and well-informed, it is easy to miss out on some essential nutrients and get hungry more often. So the first step towards a sustainable, well-balanced vegan diet is studying vital nutrients.
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There are two reasons why some vegans get hungry more often:
- Eating too much low-calorie food
- Acclimatization of the digestive system when switching to a plant-based diet
For the stomach and intestines to process nutrients well, they first need to get used to a more significant amount of plant food.
This is quite common when switching to a plant-based diet. In particular, a whole-food plant-based diet, which means a reduced intake of fats, which have the highest calorie density.
This can be a bit scary at first, but don’t worry. The frequent feeling of hunger disappears as you learn about the many possibilities that veganism offers and as your body adapts to the new eating regime.
How Often Does the Average Person Get Hungry?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting, an average adult feels hungry every three to four hours.
If you find it difficult to stay full on a vegan diet, let’s go over the most common reasons and misconceptions about veganism.
Getting Used To Plant-based Diet
For someone who has eaten meat and dairy products all their life, digestion is not used to processing large amounts of plant-based foods.
It is a similar story for vegans who eat unhealthily and prefer fast food to whole foods. So, suppose you have accustomed your body to foods such as flavor enhancers, fillers, and emulsifiers. In that case, you may become hungry if you do not consume the right foods.
Therefore, for many people who have hunger problems, it makes sense to gradually switch to a vegan diet.
Foods that are not the healthiest choice usually have a higher calorie density and more fat. For example, it takes longer for the body to digest a steak or cottage cheese made from cow’s milk than a potato salad or a bowl of oatmeal.
A high-fiber vegan diet does not give us the same feeling of fullness that we are used to on an omnivorous diet. This difference is perceived by our body as hunger.
Satiety instead of Fullness
Don’t try to satisfy your hunger by gorging yourself. Instead, make the right food choices to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
Eating large amounts of carbohydrates is not the only way to overcome hunger. Food combinations containing protein and starch often keep you full for longer.
Make hearty meals with the main focus on potatoes, pasta, legumes, cereals, and good quality oil if you have to.
6 Tips on How to Manage Persistent Hunger on Vegan Diet
- In the beginning, if you need to, find a vegan alternative to animal products.
- Prepare your meals in advance to be ready when you get hungry.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Reach for delicious recipes from cookbooks, websites, or friends.
- Don’t confuse fullness with satiety. You should still feel energized after eating, not full and tired
- Get into the habit of eating foods with a high nutrient density, instead of just filling yourself up.
Do You Get Hungry More Often When Pregnant?
The body experiences numerous physical, mental, and emotional changes during pregnancy. They include sleep patterns, workout routines, and eating habits.
Changes in hormones will cause common symptoms such as pregnancy, hunger, and cravings. Although hunger is a typical body’s response to dramatic increases in hormone levels, this symptom can indicate a nutritional deficiency.
Make sure to consume nutritionally dense foods that are high in calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin K, and healthy fats (i.e., nuts, seeds, and avocado).
It is well-known that a growing baby requires between 100 and 450 extra calories per day, depending on the trimester. When breastfeeding, a woman needs about 500 extra calories per day.
To achieve this, consume larger portions of proteins (such as lentils, beans, and soy) than you would typically have. Forget processed foods, and choose healthy, whole ones with all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and healthy fats).
In other words, it is important to have variety and »eat a rainbow«, so make sure to eat high-energy foods such as whole grains, beans, and good fats.
Do Vegans Have to Eat More?
Since animal products are off-limits and plant-based foods have a low caloric density, you may need to eat more to meet your nutritional requirements.
Just because a food product is labeled »vegan« doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. With a long list of chemicals and preservatives, many processed foods contain empty calories, leading to nutrient deficiencies and excessive hunger.
Reducing your consumption of highly-refined foods and increasing your intake of whole foods can help you get enough nutrients such as protein and fiber that are necessary for a well-balanced meal.
Consider whole grains and legumes for nutritious home-cooked meals. Top up with nutrient-dense foods such as seasonal vegetables and fruits to provide your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
With all these junk foods out there, it’s not surprising that approximately 90% of people are fiber-deficient!
And last but not least, make sure to consume alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)-rich foods such as nuts and seeds to meet your omega-3 daily needs.
Are Vegans Picky Eaters?
The short answer is no, not really. The long answer is that an average vegan is no different from any other person regarding picky eaters. In fact, most vegans will eat almost anything you put in front of them if it is »vegan-friendly. «
Ultimately, everyone has their own taste; there is beauty in our differences and authentic preferences.
How do Vegans Stay Full?
Eating nutrient-dense foods is important for appetite control. Make sure to include a variety of plant-based proteins, nuts, seeds, avocados, and other calorie-rich foods that best satisfy hunger.
In other words, choose unprocessed, »real« food over packaged food and junk food.
Vegans should eat protein and prebiotic (or probiotic) foods with each meal to stay full longer.
Further, they should go for fiber-rich foods; load up on whole grains, brown rice, legumes, strawberries, pears, carrots, beets, and avocado.
Besides eating » natural « foods, there are several habits that will help you feel full longer:
- Eating your calories, not drinking
Not all calories are created equally, so avoid smoothies and chew your fruits; the human body doesn’t digest solids the same way as liquids.
- Getting enough sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Snacking on nuts
- Hitting the gym
- Eating blueberries
Clinical studies have shown that berries can have a significant effect on the genes that are responsible for fat-burning and storing.
Veganism does not necessarily mean that you are hungry more often or, God forbid, all the time. Instead, take advantage of the high energy density of nuts, seeds, cereals, seitan, avocados, etc.
Suppose your diet lacks macronutrients or your body experiences excessive stress or dehydration. In that case, you’re more likely to feel hungry all the time. So, eat smart to stay full, healthy, and fit. Choose simple and nutritious vegan recipes and consider meal prepping during the weekend.
If you are at the beginning of your vegan journey, you will no longer feel hungry once your digestion has adjusted to a higher proportion of plant foods after a few weeks without animal products. Still, you will feel lighter and have more energy.