Why Does Coffee Make Me Hungry?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

Are you one of those who always feel ravenous after drinking coffee? Do you feel like your hunger increases exponentially after a cup (or two) of joe? If so, you’re not alone! In this post, we’ll explore why coffee can make us hungry and what we can do about it.


What is hunger?

Hunger is the body’s natural way of telling us that it needs energy and nutrients. It is triggered by the hormone ghrelin, released when the stomach is empty. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and increases food intake. Leptin, on the other hand, is a hormone released when we are full and signals our body to stop eating. 

Hungry man is ready to eat with cutlery in hand

Insulin, produced in the pancreas, helps to regulate our blood sugar levels and can also influence hunger. Coffee affects our ghrelin, leptin, and insulin levels, leading to increased hunger after consumption. When these hormones are balanced, they can help regulate appetite and prevent hunger.

Caffeine and hunger

Caffeine is a stimulant that can affect hunger levels. Studies have shown that it can suppress appetite, making you feel fuller for longer. However, the effects of caffeine are short-lived and can wear off within an hour. Another factor to consider is that caffeine can affect the hormones ghrelin, leptin, and insulin, which regulate hunger and satiety.

While caffeine might initially reduce hunger, it may cause cravings an hour later when these hormones are disrupted. Therefore, it is important to consider the long-term impact of coffee consumption when trying to manage your hunger levels.

The impact of sugar

The addition of sugar to coffee can have a significant impact on hunger levels. High sugar levels in the body can cause a spike in blood sugar, leading to feelings of hunger.

This is because the body needs to release insulin to help process the sugar, causing a decrease in blood sugar – which is the body’s signal for hunger.

Furthermore, the satisfaction one gets from adding sugar to their coffee only lasts around 60-120 minutes, meaning that hunger will come back sooner than if no sugar had been added.

Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how much sugar you add to your coffee, as it could affect your hunger levels.

Pleased cheerful Asian woman keeps hand on belly, feels full after a delicious dinner dressed casually and stands thoughtful against blue background.

Metabolism and hunger

Metabolism plays an important role in hunger levels. When your metabolism is slow, your body does not process food efficiently, leading to feelings of hunger even after eating.

On the other hand, when your metabolism is running at its peak, your body can quickly process food, meaning you will stay fuller for longer. Coffee can help boost your metabolism, resulting in higher energy levels and less frequent feelings of hunger.

In addition to this, coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of obesity and a lower risk of diabetes.

Decaffeinated coffee and hunger

Decaffeinated coffee has been demonstrated to reduce appetite and abruptly boost the satiety hormone PYY, indicating that it may influence ghrelin, leptin, and insulin control. In contrast, coffee has been shown to enhance appetite by influencing leptin levels.

A randomized human trial showed that the intake of decaffeinated coffee could result in a reduction in weight, fat, calories, and BMI. Therefore, decaffeinated coffee could be a better option for those looking to curb their hunger after drinking coffee.

This is especially true for those who are sensitive to caffeine or have found that regular coffee has caused them to become hungrier.

Strategies to reduce hunger after coffee

Coffee type

It is important to consider the type of coffee consumed to reduce hunger after drinking coffee. Coffee that is high in sugar and fat can increase hunger, while coffee that is low in sugar and fat can help to curb cravings. 

Drink coffee with a protein

Adding protein to your coffee can help reduce hunger after drinking. Protein stimulates the release of hormones like ghrelin and leptin, which help regulate appetite and make you feel full. Studies have also shown that the hunger-suppressing effect can be even stronger when you consume protein alongside caffeine.

Furthermore, PYY protein in decaffeinated coffee has been found to reduce hunger and increase satiety. So if you’re looking for a way to reduce your hunger after drinking coffee, try adding a high-protein snack or meal to your caffeine routine.

Choose high-quality coffee

High-quality coffee can have a major impact on hunger levels after drinking. Coffee beans grown in ideal conditions, harvested and processed with care, and roasted to perfection contain higher amounts of beneficial compounds like chlorogenic acids and caffeine. 

These compounds can help reduce hunger by decreasing ghrelin levels, the hormone that increases hunger, and increased leptin levels, which help signal satiety. By opting for high-quality coffee, you’ll be able to enjoy a cup that not only tastes great but can also help you feel full longer.

Go for cold brew

Cold brew coffee is a popular and often healthier choice than regular coffee. It has less acidity and can be easier on the stomach. Cold brew also has a lower caffeine content, making it a better choice for those looking to reduce hunger after coffee. 

The lower caffeine content is due to the longer brewing process, which reduces the amount of caffeine extracted from the beans. As a result, cold brew coffee can help suppress hunger while providing a delicious cup of coffee.

Conclusion

Coffee does make you hungry. While caffeine can be used to suppress appetite, it is decaffeinated coffee that causes the lowest levels of hunger. There are several strategies to help reduce hunger after drinking coffee, such as drinking coffee with protein, choosing high-quality coffee, and going for cold brew. 

All these strategies help reduce coffee’s effects on your appetite and help you stick to your diet plan. Ultimately, understanding why coffee makes you hungry and taking steps to reduce its impact can help you maintain a healthy weight and still enjoy your favorite cup of joe.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.