What causes increased appetite and how to manage it?

Symptom Database

Increased appetite, also known as appetite boost or appetite enhancement, refers to a condition where an individual experiences a heightened desire to eat. This can be caused by various factors, including physiological, psychological, and environmental influences. Understanding the causes of increased appetite and learning how to manage it can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we will explore the different reasons behind increased appetite and provide practical tips on how to effectively manage it.

Physiological Factors

Several physiological factors can contribute to an increased appetite. These include:

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormones play a crucial role in regulating appetite. Imbalances in hormones such as ghrelin, leptin, and insulin can lead to an increased desire to eat.
  • Low Blood Sugar: When blood sugar levels drop, the body signals the brain to increase food intake to restore energy levels.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and antidepressants, can stimulate appetite as a side effect.

To manage increased appetite caused by physiological factors, it is important to address the underlying issue. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help identify any hormonal imbalances or medication-related causes. Additionally, maintaining stable blood sugar levels through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help regulate appetite.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors can significantly influence appetite. Emotional states, stress levels, and mental health conditions can all contribute to increased appetite. Some common psychological factors include:

  • Stress and Anxiety: When stressed or anxious, individuals may turn to food as a coping mechanism, leading to increased appetite.
  • Depression: Depression can disrupt the brain’s regulation of appetite, causing an increase in food cravings.
  • Boredom or Emotional Eating: Eating out of boredom or to fulfill emotional needs can result in overeating and increased appetite.

To manage increased appetite caused by psychological factors, it is essential to address the underlying emotional or mental health issues. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, seeking therapy or counseling, and practicing mindful eating can help manage emotional eating and regulate appetite.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which we live and the cues it provides can also impact our appetite. Some common environmental factors that can contribute to increased appetite include:

  • Food Availability: The presence of easily accessible and tempting food can trigger increased appetite.
  • Food Advertising: Constant exposure to food advertisements can stimulate cravings and lead to increased appetite.
  • Social Influence: Eating in social settings or being surrounded by others who are eating can influence an individual’s appetite.

To manage increased appetite caused by environmental factors, it is important to create a supportive environment. This can be achieved by keeping healthy snacks readily available, limiting exposure to food advertisements, and seeking social support for healthy eating habits.

Natural Appetite Stimulants

In addition to managing the underlying causes of increased appetite, there are natural appetite stimulants that can help regulate and control cravings. These include:

  • Protein-Rich Foods: Including protein in meals and snacks can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce overall appetite.
  • Fiber-Rich Foods: Foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can promote satiety and reduce the desire to overeat.
  • Healthy Fats: Incorporating sources of healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, can help regulate appetite and provide a feeling of satisfaction.
  • Hydration: Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day can help curb appetite and prevent overeating.

By incorporating these natural appetite stimulants into your diet, you can effectively manage increased appetite and maintain a healthy eating pattern.


Increased appetite can be caused by a variety of factors, including physiological, psychological, and environmental influences. Understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate strategies can help manage and regulate appetite. By addressing hormonal imbalances, managing stress levels, creating a supportive environment, and incorporating natural appetite stimulants into your diet, you can effectively manage increased appetite and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing persistent or severe changes in appetite, as it may be indicative of an underlying medical condition. By taking proactive steps to manage increased appetite, you can ensure your overall well-being and maintain a balanced approach to eating.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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