COVID-19 has created a huge disruption in the world, affecting people's lifestyles that restrict them from doing their usual routine and forcing them to work from home. More so, it affected people's eating behavior and physical activity.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool surveyed 2002 adults in the United Kingdom to see how COVID-19 lockdowns have interrupted their eating behavior and lifestyle. Meanwhile, dieticians and experts answer the frequently asked question about eating during this time: "Why do I feel hungry all the time?"

Why Do I Feel Hungry All the Time? New Study Explains Obesity, Eating Behavior, Physical Activity During Lockdowns
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Woman eating a piece of cake.

Eating Behavior Affected by COVId-19 Lockdowns

In the study, titled "Obesity, Eating Behavior and Physical Activity During COVID-19 Lockdown: A Study of UK Adults" published in the journal Appetite, researchers examined eating behavior and physical activity of adults in the UK during COVID-19 lockdowns wherein the 2002 respondents completed a survey.

Participants reported lifestyle changes, particularly in their weight-related behaviors and challenges they encountered in weight management compared to the time when there were no lockdowns yet.

The team found that about 56% of participants reported negative changes in their eating behavior and physical activity. More than half of them said they snack more frequently now than pre-pandemic times and experience problems in managing their weight. They reported having problems with motivation and self-control when around food.

According to Washington News Today, some people may attribute this increased hunger to a simple feeling of not eating enough or not eating the right foods to feel full. However, for some, it could be a sign of deeper issues that should be addressed.

Researchers wrote that these trends were more noticeable among participants with higher BMI, which is associated with lower levels of physical activity and diet but a greater frequency of overeating. They concluded that COVID-19 lockdowns may have adverse effects on people's weight-related behaviors, particularly those with higher BMI.

ALSO READ: First Global Survey Reveals the Effect of Lockdown on People with Obesity

Causes of Increased Hunger

The causes of hunger can be anything from a situational to a physiological need. Dieticians and other experts talk to Newsweek about the possible causes of increased hunger that many people experience during COVID-19 lockdowns.

For instance, Kristen Smith from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said that there are medications and nutritional factors that can increase hunger. This was seconded by the dietician and researcher Dr. Jinan Banna who said that what a person eats affects how full they would feel.

Banna told Newsweek that an unbalanced diet that mainly comprises white bread, rice, sweets, etc. would not make a person full for a long time as simple carbohydrates can be digested quickly. A balanced diet that contains protein, fiber, and fat is always recommended to feel full because they take longer to digest.

On the other hand, dietician Maya Feller said that the type of food is not the only factor that can increase hunger. Skipping meals can also do that. She narrated that some of her patients would complain about being so hungry at dinner because of skipping lunch or experiencing a lack of consistent access to food.

But most important of all, experts said that environmental changes could cause increased hunger. That means a change in lifestyle or activity levels that may cause stress or lack of sleep makes people more hungry, like during COVID-19 lockdowns.

 RELATED ARTICLE: Stay-At-Home Adults Gained Two Pounds a Month During COVID-19 Pandemic, Study

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