Why Eating When You're Hungry Could Be Slowing Your Metabolism

Hallie Gould
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Vogue UK/Terry Richardson

I’ve talked to nutritionists before about this very issue: that it's better to eat small snacks every few hours than to eat larger meals farther apart. But doesn’t it still seem counterintuitive? When I’m trying to watch what I eat, I usually wait until I’m really hungry so the meal feels “worth it” or “deserved.” Yet again, that’s learned behaviour from years of experimenting with restrictive eating and not-so-body-positive thoughts.

Always Hungry? author David Ludwig, MD, Ph.D., told Well + Good, “Hunger is a sign your body needs calories and something to keep your metabolism going. You should never go hungry.” Basically, when you get those terrible stomach pangs, it’s your body’s way of telling you it’s beginning to go into starvation mode. It raises your insulin levels, burns calories at a slower rate, and ultimately “creates a battle between mind and metabolism,” suggests Ludwig.

So what should you do? Eat healthy snacks throughout the day (Charles Passler—Bella Hadid’s nutritionist—suggests every two hours for optimal results). Try unsalted almonds, a few pieces of fruit, or some leafy greens to keep your body going until your next meal. Keep them by your desk so you’re less likely to be tempted by the office vending machine.

What’s your best dieting tip? Let us know in the comments below!

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