• Menopause Symptoms
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Why Do I Feel Constantly Hungry And Tired All The Time?

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If you’re a woman aged over 40 you feel hungry all the time no matter how much food you eat, you’re not alone. Many middle-aged women notice their energy levels drop, hunger pangs and food cravings increase and so does their calorie intake.

If you uncharacteristically start to feel hungry all the time, are snacking and eating foods which aren’t healthy, a change in your hormone levels could be the culprit.

We’ve pulled together this article to help you understand the link between hormones and constant hunger, and what you can do to reign in your appetite and feel better!.


  • Hormones estrogen, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and insulin are all connected to appetite and weight management.Unbalanced hormones can trigger hunger symptoms.
  • Sleep and stress management are crucial to mental and physical health - especially if you’re a woman in menopause. Sleep helps to balance hormones which can make you feel hungry and stress can trigger psychological hunger.
  • Nutrition and lifestyle changes can help to support hormones and keep your appetite, weight and stress levels in check. In an 2023 Eve Biology consumer study using nutrition dense meal replacements women over 40 saw an 85% improvement in sleep, an 88% improvement in energy levels and an average of 5.3lbs weight loss.
Woman with balanced hormones

Hormones, appetite and hunger

Hormones play a huge part in our overall health and well-being. They control our appetite and food intake, our weight and our body composition -fat and muscle mass.

Let’s take a look at some of the hormones connected to appetite - leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and insulin.

Leptin stops you feeling hungry all the time

Leptin is an amino acid hormone your fat cells produce which is released into the blood stream. It helps our body maintain a good balance between food intake and energy use. Leptin signals to the brain that we have enough energy via food and drink. It helps to suppress hunger and prevent excessive eating.

The amount of leptin we have is directly related to the amount of body fat we have. In simple terms, leptin tells our brain when we have enough fat cells, which makes us feel less hungry.

Ghrelin stimulates physical hunger

The hormone called ghrelin stimulates physical hunger to ensure you eat enough to keep your energy levels up.That's all food is to your body - energy intake.

Our bodies produce ghrelin in the stomach, brain, small intestine and pancreas. Ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormone which breaks down body fat and supports lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass burns more calories even at rest.

Cortisol - stress hormone and oestrogen inhibitor

Cortisol's job is to instigate a ‘fight or flight’ response when we perceive danger. When we're stressed, cortisol is released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands, causing an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.

Elevated cortisol levels can actually cause you to crave highly processed foods and refined carbohydrates. High levels of cortisol can also encourage the body to break down muscle instead of fat which, in turn can make the body less efficient at burning calories.


Insulin helps your body to turn food into energy. Insulin clears excess sugar from the blood and sends it to the liver where it’s stored as energy for when you need it. Excess sugar that the liver can’t store is stored as fat.

Insulin can take your blood sugar levels from a high to a low sugar state in a very short space of time. Sugar crashes stimulate the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

What does menopause have to do with weight and hunger hormones?

Most of us know estrogen as the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle, but it actually has a huge number of benefits to the rest of the body, too.

  • Helps to regulate cholesterol levels
  • Protects the blood vessels and bones
  • Supports collagen production
  • Helps to keep the cardiovascular system in good shape
  • Helps to support digestion and gut health
  • Helps to balance other hormones

When your estrogen levels fall, the health benefits and protection it offered also fall.

Woman lying on the beach

What are the symptoms of low oestrogen?

Menopause comes with a long list of symptoms, as does perimenopause. Some are physical, like hot flashes, headaches, bloating, constipation, tiredness, itching, weight gain and joint pain. Feeling hungry and tired is very common. Other symptoms are psychological, for example, anxiety, forgetfulness, mood swings, lack of concentration and focus.

Sugar in the blood is higher in menopausal women which increases their risk of health conditions like type 2 diabetes. The other hormones in the body including leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cortisol can also become unbalanced as a consequence of less oestrogen.

Menopause Weight Gain

Around 50% of women gain weight with an average of 10kg . While menopause doesn't directly cause weight gain, the symptoms associated with menopause can affect appetite, hormones, metabolism, mood and body composition.

Sleep disruption and hunger

Up to 50% of women in menopause suffer from sleep issues. Sleep disruption is a very common symptom of lower oestrogen levels which can affect how the brain processes serotonin, a chemical building block of melatonin. Melatonin which helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycles

Sleep deprivation can cause leptin levels to fall, which means the hormone is less effective in suppressing your appetite. This makes you more likely to crave food and overeat. Sleep deprivation can also increase your hunger hormone ghrelin making you feel hungrier. when you're tired emotional eating is also more likely.

Menopause and stress

Midlife for a woman is a particularly busy, stressful time. The adrenal glands produce a weaker form of oestrogen which is our 'plan b' when the ovaries drop their production and helps to keep the body stable. The adrenal glands also produce adrenaline and cortisol - stress hormones.    

Oestrogen can also be produced by fat cells. If your adrenal glands aren’t producing the back up oestrogen levels your body needs because it's too busy pumping out stress hormones then your body will start to increase your visceral fat to access more oestrogen. That muffin top and belly starting to add up now?

Grilled salmon for healthy fats

How to control hunger during menopause

Thankfully, there are ways to control the intense hunger menopause and unbalanced hormones can stimulate. Nutrition plays a big part! Cutting back on refined carbs, avoiding too much alcohol and increasing protein can make a huge difference. Let's look at some ways you can get back your energy balance and change unhelpful eating behaviours.

Balance Your Blood Sugar

If there is one thing you should do when hormones are unreliable is to keep your sugar levels stable. Low blood sugar can be very disruptive. Each time the sugar in your blood falls, your stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released which means you're going to feel more anxious and crappy.

It also means your adrenal glands are too busy to produce your back up oestrogen so any low oestrogen symptoms you have can get worse!

When you eat food with refined carbs like white bread, rice, pasta and cereals can lead to sugar spikes. The hormone insulin is then released to clear the sugar from your blood and send it to the liver to be stored until the body can use it as an energy source. The excess sugar your liver can’t hold is stored as fat.

Make sure you're eating enough protein

You need protein because most of the cells in your body depend on it. Your hair, skin, nails, muscles, cells and tissues are all reliant on getting it.

Menopausal women in particular need it to retain lean muscle mass which naturally starts to decline as we mature. Lean muscle mass helps to burn calories. Protein also helps to balance sugar and helps you feel satisfied.

Eat healthy fats

We need fat to stay healthy, especially during the menopause. Healthy fats like omega 3, 6 and 9 help to support heart health, hormonal balance. Fat is also fuel for the body - it contains 100% more energy per gram as carbohydrates or protein.

Fat also helps to keep the brain healthy. Sardines, salmon, mackerel are all good sources of Omega 3. If you're not eating enough fat low mood, brain fog and lack of energy can develop.

Eat more fibre

Fibre is the part of the food we eat that can’t be absorbed into our body, which means it travels through our digestive system and into our gut relatively intact. Fibre-rich foods include plant based foods, whole grains, beans, lentils, fruit, and vegetables. It helps us feel fuller for longer which means we're not always hungry.

We need both soluble fiber and non soluble fibre to support our bodies. Soluble fibre helps to slow digestion so you can absorb nutrients. Insoluble fibre helps to keep you regular and eliminate toxins as well as excess hormones.

Prebiotic fibre acts as food to the healthy microbes that live in our gut, which spells great news for our overall health. Gut health supports hormone regulation and how nutrition is digested. Eve's prebiotic fibre also helps to keep blood sugar levels more stable.

Lower stress levels

The stress hormone cortisol can increase our appetite, making us feel more hungry more often. Stress can also trigger emotional hunger. Emotional hunger isn't the body asking for more nutrition it's psychological. Drinking alcohol or eating rarely works when it comes to making you feel better

Avoiding stress is easier said than done. Using herbal adaptogens like ashwagandha can help to support the body's response to stress. That's why we include it in Eve Biology Shakes - 85% of consumers felt less stressed in a 4 week trial.

Woman sleeping in bed

Get enough sleep

Tiredness is a common menopause symptom and the importance of getting enough sleep can't be overstated. Sleep helps to balance appetite hormones. Lack of sleep can make you feel hungry all the time as your body tries to get quick energy.

When we feel tired, we often reach for convenient options like fast food and ready meals because we don’t have the energy to cook healthy meals. So, if you can get on top of your sleeping pattern, you’ll find it easier to stay in control of your diet, too.

Sleep can also be affected by symptoms like hot flashes and nocturia -getting up to go to the toilet more. Avoid coffee and alcohol in the afternoons because they have a diuretic effect - they increase the amount of urine you produce and can increase anxiety.

Be mindful of your eating behaviors

Eat mindfully with regular meal times. Distracted eating - when you're doing something else isn't connected to appetite control. Eating slowly gives your body an opportunity to feel satisfied and stimulate appetite reducing hormones so you don't eat more calories than you need.

Drinking water with meals and throughout the day can help to kill constant hunger symptoms by making you feel fuller, keep you hydrated and helping to flush out the liver.


Unbalanced hormones and associated symptoms like poor sleep and stress can contribute to excessive hunger and change your eating behaviours.

Getting enough protein, healthy fats and fibre and monitoring sugar intake can help to dampen a seemingly insatiable appetite. Adequate sleep and lowering stress levels can support energy levels and help to regulate your food intake.


Why do I feel constantly hungry and tired all the time?

Hormone levels, adrenal fatigue, lack of sleep and poor nutrition can all contribute to the way your appetite works and your energy levels.

Which hormones increase appetite?

Ghrelin is the main hormone that increases our appetite – its job is to make sure we consume enough food to keep our energy levels up. Cortisol – a stress hormone – can also make us feel hungrier.