Appetite can be a tricky thing, especially in a society as obsessed with appearance as ours. Many people seem eager to reject their feelings of hunger or cravings for specific foods in order to slim down, though this often results in a so-called “yo-yo” diet, which only ends up being harmful in the long run. While you shouldn’t be ruled by your appetites, neither should you ignore them entirely. In some cases, however, people lose their sense of hunger altogether, a situation that comes with its own set of pitfalls, such as the potential to become malnourished. Though this development may be welcomed by some, a loss of appetite should be treated as a warning sign, one that might indicate a need for proactive medical nutrition support. To find out more on the subject of appetite, including whether it’s bad to have no appetite, keep reading as the people at ENU explain.
Common Causes of Appetite Loss
Unless you’ve just finished a meal, a sudden loss of appetite is an unusual occurrence. In many cases, a person’s appetite can wax and wane throughout the day, depending on their lifestyle and level of activity. However, significant changes typically only happen under certain conditions, such as if you suffer from an illness. Below are a few of the most common reasons why people lose their appetite.
Certain medications can affect a person’s level of hunger, including common ones like antibiotics, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. If you take any medication on a regular basis, talk to your doctor and ask whether the drug may be affecting your appetite.
Though expecting mothers are often portrayed as having a ravenous and unpredictable appetite, the prevalence of nausea among pregnant women makes the picture a little less clear. Pregnancy comes with so-called “morning sickness” – which can actually strike anytime during the day – which can lead to a loss of appetite in some.
Loss of appetite is a common side effect of cancer-fighting measures like chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Both can cause nausea, mouth sores, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and a number of other conditions that could easily disincentivize eating for patients who need nutrients more than ever.
If your loss of appetite is accompanied by a change in mood or energy levels, you may be experiencing depression – a mental illness known for affecting appetite. While some people with this condition will have cravings and may over-eat, others lose any interest in food. Eating disorders, such as anorexia, can also have a serious impact on your level of hunger; a weight gain shake for anorexia may be able to help.
Changes in Metabolism
There are a few illnesses that can lead to changes in the body’s basal metabolic rate – the rate at which your body uses energy. Hypothyroidism is one example; because the thyroid controls how your body processes food, any changes to this important organ can lead to a loss of appetite. Cancer is another possible culprit, though you shouldn’t assume the worst just because you feel less hungry. A healthcare professional can help you determine if any of these conditions is a likely culprit.
Managing a Loss of Appetite with Nutrition Shakes
Even if your body has suddenly stopped demanding food, you still need to eat to keep up your strength. For some, that’s easier said than done; those with severe oral mucositis, for example, may not be able to handle solid food. Still, there are usually a few things you can do to get the nutrients your body needs, even if the steps require a bit of flexibility.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day instead of three big ones. Alternately, keeping some healthy snacks on hand can improve your caloric intake as well, though you should try not to rely on junk food for your nutrients.
- Liquid meals may be easier to handle, especially if you have a malady of the mouth or throat. Meal replacement shakes are one option, whether you need to gain weight after a stroke or are searching for a liquid nutritional supplement for cancer patients. Just make sure the shake you select has the proper balance of nutrients and contains healthy ingredients, if possible.
- Eat when you’re hungry, rather than on a set schedule. This may lead to meals at unusual times, but embrace your appetite whenever it appears.
- Some light exercise about an hour before you plan to eat may help to improve your appetite. Try going for a brisk walk or biking around your neighborhood for 20-30 minutes.
- Save hydration for between meals. Drinking water or any other thirst-quenching liquid can fill you up, eliminating what little hunger you have left. Rather than having a drink with your meal, hold off until you’ve eaten all you can to maximize your calorie intake.
For most people, finding the cause of the appetite loss should be the top priority, as treating the underlying problem is often the best way to find a solution. However, if you can’t eliminate the cause – for example, if you lose your appetite because of chemo but can’t simply stop the treatments – then it should be possible to mitigate the issue for a while.
Convenient, Balanced Nutrition Shakes Available from ENU
Proper nutrition is important, no matter where your level of hunger may be. That’s why ENU shakes make fueling your body easy, with 17 grams of protein from whey and soy, complex carbs derived from whole grains, and heart-healthy fats that come from coconut and sunflower oils. Plus, each shake offers more than 20 vitamins and minerals, rounding out the nutritional profile of these delicious drinks. If you would like to learn more about ENU products and how they can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, visit us online or call (855) 266-6733.