Why You’re Hungry for Lunch at 11 A.M.
By Mussy Raitman, Lubicom Staff
The people that know me well know that by 11 a.m. I am already up to lunch.
Around 11 a.m. every day, my roaring stomach begins to demand lunch. It’s a struggle to make it to 12 p.m. before I’m craving pasta, pizza, and sushi. Let’s just say if I am ever invited to a brunch with a call time after 11 a.m., it’s safe for my family and friends to assume I have mentally designated this as lunch.
At times it definitely works to my benefit - the usually packed local eateries are line-free, and I’m the only customer in sight (buying lunch at least) - but then it gets to 3:30 and, well… I’m up kind of up to dinner.
The thing that bothers me the most is I never skip breakfast and generally get enough sleep. So why does the prospect of 1 p.m. work lunches feel so unattainable to me? “12:30?” I comprise with my friend daily (you know who you are), adding a wink emoji.
I decided to discuss this daily struggle with Rorie Weisberg and get down to the root of the issue.
Why am I always hungry by 11 in the morning? Why can't I simply make it to lunch?
There can be many reasons for that, but I'll go through a few. There are some people who need to eat more often. If someone is hypoglycemic, it's better for them to eat every two and a half to three hours to keep their blood sugar stabilized. There are some people who just don't have much of an appetite first thing in the morning, so they eat a pretty light, simple breakfast which might not hold them all the way to lunch. And then there are just some people who are very prone to snacking, and it's just a pattern that they get into.
Yes, I’m defiantly a big snacker.
However, I think the main reason that most people are hungry at 11 a.m. is because of what they are and what they are not eating for breakfast. The standard American diet, which is actually the acronym for “SAD,” has popularized the low-fat diet. Low fat became a really big fad in the ’90s and it's still carrying through, especially in our community.
Totally. There is this belief that fat makes you fat.
Right, so people are trying to consume a minimum amount of fats and focusing on calorie-counting. Because fats have nine calories per gram whereas proteins and carbs only have four, many people feel like they'd rather go for volume over the same hundred calories in a tablespoon of butter.
People would rather have a full cup of cereal than consume fats.
What people don’t realize is that even though two foods might have the same calories, they don’t always give our bodies the same instructions. The typical low-fat/high-starch breakfast foods spike your blood sugar, telling your body to produce more insulin first thing in the morning. Once you start your day like this, you’ll be spending your day on a blood sugar roller coaster of spikes and crashes, leaving you feeling hungry and craving with every crash.
WOW! So much going on inside of us without even realizing.
Insulin is an appetite stimulant. When you eat a breakfast with a higher carb load, you're forcing your body to produce more insulin - which will make you feel hungrier.
Ok, this is starting to clear things up for me.
The other issue is when you don't have enough fats in your breakfast it will also keep you feeling unsatisfied. In general, fats take much longer to metabolize and digest, keeping us fuller longer. Fats also slow the response of the glucose you are eating in your meal, making the glycemic load lower.
I’ve noticed this new fad with protein.
Lately, everyone is into ‘we've got to have a ton of protein with every meal.’ Don’t get me wrong, protein is very important, and we do need protein for building muscle, but we don't need quite as much protein in a day as most people think. (Unless you're a real bodybuilder, working out extensively.)
These are major misconceptions about fats and protein.
Most people are forgetting the importance of fats. Our bodies need fats for vitamin absorption and brain development, and fats are the macronutrient that keeps us full, especially when we're talking about healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, egg yolks, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. When you don't have enough fat in your diet you get much hungrier much sooner.
Basically, breakfast fat is really key.
Correct, so if you're having a protein shake without much fat in it you might have your starch from the fruit and you've got your protein from your protein powder, but if you're not adding enough avocado nut butter or coconut oil you're going to feel hungry much sooner. Personally, I don’t even use protein powder. If my shake has avocado and nut butter, and since I have a good source of animal proteins at my other meals, I don’t need protein powder.
Another common breakfast is yogurt with fruit and granola. It might sound like a healthy breakfast, but that combo is actually very high in carbs, and if you’re using fat-free yogurt it’s really low in fat. Starting your day off with this kind of breakfast is a recipe for cravings and a hungry mid-morning, mid-afternoon and the infamous night munchies.
Aim for a breakfast made with whole, unprocessed ingredients. My favorite is eggs in butter or coconut oil with veggies and avocado. If you’re going to have a yogurt, take an unsweetened one that is full-fat, add some low-glycemic fruit, and replace the granola crunch with a couple of nuts and cocoa nibs. These suggestions are what is going to keep you fuller longer.
This is all making much more sense… I usually opt for the low-fat yogurts.
One more thing I do want to say, I don't recommend eating by the clock. I really believe in listening to your body's cues. So if you see that you eat a breakfast that makes you feel comfortably satisfied at whatever time in the morning that is and you're hungry for lunch at 11 a.m., eat lunch at 11. Who cares if that's not the norm? If you want to meet friends at 1, consider adding some more fat to your breakfast or having a small healthy snack mid-morning to help you keep going a little bit longer.
I hope this was helpful.
Yes, thanks so much. I’ll keep you posted once I make some major changes to my breakfast diet.