We all get the munchies every now and then, when we pick and nibble at things never feeling quite satisfied. But if you make this a regular habit you could end up piling on the pounds before you know it, which previous research from Aberdeen University in Scotland discovered.

Do you ever wonder what causes these cravings, when some days you can’t even find the appetite to finish a meal?

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Image: Corbis

1. You lack sleep
There’s that well-known theory that you get hungry when you’re tired, and this is true. It’s more prominent in women though, as the levels of the hormone gherlin are affected. Gherlin sends a message to the brain when we need to tuck into something, and a lack of shut eye causes it to increase.

Previous research conducted by Columbia University in the US showed females who didn’t sleep well ate around 300 more calories a day than those who did. Add this up over the week and a substantial amount of weight could be put on.

2. You’re eating too quickly
The quicker you eat has an effect on the signals sent to the brain to tell us we’re full, which can cause over consumption.

3. Your medication could be a factor
In addition to hay fever making your eyes sting and nose run, the pills taken to treat it can also make you peckish. Antihistamines alter your hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls appetite and makes sure you don’t overdo it. It is thought to happen over time rather than straight away, so you may want to look at natural remedies to avoid the constant snacking.

Antidepressants have the same results on the hypothalamus, with those containing the drug mirtazapine causing more hunger, although the reasons why have yet to be confirmed.

4. It’s really all in your head
There’s also the naughty food needs, and the guilt for eating something such as a biscuit can feel so good you want more. Then you may want to mix things up with a packet of crisps, or a chocolate bar, and if people around you are encouraging you then it’s hard to pull yourself away.

If this is the case for you, stick to a handful of nuts and dried fruit or a bowl of zero fat yoghurt to top up as the day goes on. © Cover Media

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