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Thin But Constantly Hungry

Thin But Constantly Hungry
July 14, 2013 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Hungry Image 200We often think being thin is the same thing as being “healthy”, but this is not true anymore. Recent studies are showing that skinny people who eat everything in sight yet never gain a pound are at an increased risk of developing cancer, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease.

How can thin people be unhealthy? It is called “over-nutrition” and it is a condition that develops when we eat or drink more calories than our bodies require. Some of us have the genetic ability to dump this excess energy into fat cells.

Other individuals are not as capable of producing extra body fat, but all that excess energy still has to go somewhere. Combining this “skinny genetic trait” with excessive hunger provides a recipe for the early development of many different illnesses and disease.

Many thin people do not have “lucky” metabolism after all. Their thin bodies, just like overweight bodies, are damaged by poor eating habits. We are now seeing thin people develop chronic illnesses before their heavier counterparts.

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Am I saying it’s good to be overweight? No, not at all. I am saying that the production of fat is a visible nutritional alarm system but some people were born without this warning sign.

If someone does not produce much body fat, they consume all of those excess calories and energy without any clue that something toxic is happening to their body on the inside.

Excess energy that is not stored as fat is deposited in our organs, which can have dangerous consequences. Excess energy stored in the liver causes fatty liver disease and is now the most common cause of liver transplantation.

Excess energy stored in the pancreas elevates blood sugar and triggers diabetes. Excess energy stored in the heart renders the heart muscle stiff and incapable of pumping correctly, and results in congestive heart failure.

Why are we so hungry? We may have a damaged autonomic nervous system from stress, trauma, or childbirth. Our hunger control might also be influenced by bacterial overgrowth of the intestinal track, the constant onslaught of marketing, and easy access to addictive and calorie dense foods.

It becomes a cycle where the more fat and sugar that we consume, the more fat and sugar that we want to consume. These foods literally alter our brain’s blood flow and hormone levels and make us “feel good” after eating them.

If you (or your kids) are not overweight yet are always eating and are constantly hungry, you need to understand this does not mean you have magical metabolism.

You might be on a rapid path towards illness and poor health, but you can stop this disease cycle. With autonomic system and intestinal bacterial re-balancing, we can help re-regulate your hunger control and return your metabolism back on a healthier track.



  1. Cumorah Kowallis 3 months ago

    While this isn’t for me, it is for my sister. She is 5’4′ and weighs 90 pounds she is only 13 but has always been underweight. My family has tried everything to help her gain weight but she can’t though she is constantly hungry and constantly eating. She doesn’t even grow fast . She also has a heart murmur she was born with and was very small when she was born, she even stopped growing while my mom was pregnant with her. Should I be worried about this, her not gaining weight, with all this extra info I have given you.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 3 months ago

      It is a concern over the long term but our protocol for kids (read our protocol on autism) has a very good chance of helping her gain weight and improve in many different respects.

  2. Deb 8 months ago

    I am 5’7. I weigh 90 pounds. I eat about 10,000 calories a day, I am a 68 year old woman and work full time as a waiter. I do not know what it would feel like to sit down and relax, it just does not happen, I am seeing my family and friends slowing down, but I cannot. About 30 years ago I was told I needed to eat protein to control my hypoglycaemia. I believe I eat a very healthy diet. I am exhausting everyone I love. I never get answers. Everyone always says how jealous they are but I find it becoming exhausting, but that does not stop it. Can you think of anything I might ask a doctor to get some help? I move constantly.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 8 months ago

      You very likely have autonomic dysfunction with inadequate blood and oxygen delivery to the brain when upright. Foods, especially with salt or sugar boost blood pressure to the brain. Moving muscles drives blood pressure to the brain. This is why you are restless and constantly hungry.

      Also if your hypothalamus becomes damaged in a certain manner, you cannot make body fat no matter how much you eat.

      Not many doctors have training or experience to understand this. I can help you but it would require a visit to me in Arizona.

  3. Jessie 10 months ago

    Can these symptoms come with peripheral neuropathy? The angina is also freaking me out. What’s weird is my average heart rate was slowly increasing in average over a period of a few months. My anger and blood sugar too (not diabetic). Then it hit an average of 102, then it started falling. It’s still falling, even my body temperature, anger, I have brain fog now, I have no motivation, and I have painful neuropathy among a million other symptoms. What was this roller coaster? It was like for a while I was high, motivated, studying, I got awesome grades, I was angry, an adrenaline junkie. It was an addiction. Now I’m the opposite. What exactly happened there? I’m still very skinny. That hasn’t changed for a year and a half.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 10 months ago

      It’s possible the effects of overnutrition are causing so much metabolic inflammation that your autonomic nervous system is being damaged. We can help you but you would need to be seen at least once in our AZ office.

  4. Wingyu 12 months ago

    Hi Doctor. I’m 20 years old male and weigh 48kg and 1.75 m tall. I do have meals in fair quantity but have been skinny all my life. I’m a typical individual who doesn’t gain weight at all and neither do I have a record of weight loss. Besides having lactose intolerance, I found myself always hungry and had barely any weight change after eating. After reading this article, I am seriously concerned of my “constant hunger” and how may I gain weight (maybe protein powder is a good option…)? Thank you.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 12 months ago

      It would involve restoring brain function as I discuss in my other articles.

      We don’t have our book out yet for adult brain recovery, but an equivalent regimen too help recover can be found in our autism book.

      You would use the adult dose s list in that book to help start getting your brain to recover

  5. Sandra 12 months ago

    Hi Doctor, I eat 3 times daily but I keep growing thin. I am experiencing lots of stress too. I don’t know if the cause of my continuous weight loss would be as a result of the stress or it could be because I’m not eating enough. I find it difficult to sleep too

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 12 months ago

      An important place to start is to get a good general examination and testing to exclude issues such as hyperthyroidism.

  6. Jonas 1 year ago

    I weigh 63 kilos i am about 1 8 metres tall I keep losing weight if I don’t eat almost constantly.
    I have a mix of ADHD and tourettes syndrome. I take two pills each morning (36 mg methyl phelnidate). I talked to my doctor about it and he told me that I just a big appetite.
    I just find it weird, if that’s the casr, that the side effect of taking the medicine I need to be capable of having a job could kill me.
    Who should I contact?

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 1 year ago

      You should read about my protocol. It may solve some of your issues.

  7. Handra 1 year ago

    Hi Dr, Nemechek,

    Good day. I have a question regarding my condition. I am 32 years old, weight 69.4KG, height 173cm.

    I have been having this constant hunger for quite long. Around 2 hours or more after I eat my meal, it’s really normal for me to start feeling hungry again. However, I notice that this is quite unlikely to happen when I am busy with work. During weekends, when I mostly just stay home, this symptom occurres.

    I stumbled upon your blog and wondering if my condition is due to the autonomous nervous system as well? I am diagnosed with GERD, wondering if this is due to my GERD as well.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 1 year ago

      You hunger fits the pattern of poor brain blood pressure and oxygen delivery from autonomic dysfunction. Your nervous system is having difficulty pushing blood into your head because of the stress of gravity.

      Foods with salt and sugar boost blood pressure to the brain as does movement of the leg muscles. Laying flat (and alleviating the stress of gravity) should improve blood and oxygen flow to your head and shut off your hunger as well.

  8. Karen 1 year ago

    Patrick, iyou said “Foods with salt or carbs boost BP to brain. Brain makes you feel hungry in order to get more oxygen. Then how is it connected to not gaining weight even consuming thousands and thousands of calories a day?

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 1 year ago

      Calories only really weigh something when stored in body fat, this is because they are stored with water and it is the water within the fat tissue. We are recognizing that many people can have damage to their metabolic systems in such a way that they cannot make body fat. The energy of the calories then flows into their other tissues including their organs and may cause disease (fatty liver disease, diabetes T2, cardiomyopathy).

  9. Mia S. 1 year ago

    hey my sister is a very talented and skinny gymnast and she eats non stop, if she eats a meal like 5 minutes later she is like, “mom i’m starving” but all she eats is the junk food or anything she can get her hands on. I have always thought that once she stops gymnastics she will see the consequences but i never thought she could get diseases from this until now i actually searched it up because we just had a big dinner and she just said ” im gonna go eat now”juuuuuuuuuuuuust how is anyone’s metabolism so high? i don’t like to eat much and i’m fine she is like less than 90 pounds and 5 ft at 13 years old compared to me, a 108 pound 5 7″ 13 year old ( i know not much of a difference but again I don’t eat nearly as much as my other siblings.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 1 year ago

      Your sister is exactly the type of person we worry about.

  10. Reta Mae Buchanan 1 year ago

    Dr Nemecheck, I have a Failure to thrive child on the Autism Spectrum. In fact,m wearent even sure thats where she fits, But my description of her- is at age 11- she weighs just 50 lbs, Thin, thin limbs, Huge protruding belly, directly after eating. Major gas and bloating, and she is constantly Hungry- searching for food- poor thing cannot get enough food, Its soo frustrating, I know she has some type of metabolic disorder, Her Bowel movements are NOT correct- they fluctuate widely- mostly on the looser, and unformed side. GI doctor told me , he cannot help her. She is non verbal, and in pain at times. I need someone that can take over and help. She also had open heart surgery at age 6 months and was a preemie, she had a total rough start to life and has never gotten better andhealthy. Please help. I know you can

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 1 year ago

      Very complicated set of circumstances but suspicious that bacterial overgrowth may be playing a part in her intestinal issues as well as her autism.

      First best approach is for us to discuss issues via Skype or phone. Contact my office at 1-623-208-4226 to schedule a session.

      Information about insurance and costs is listed under the About tab on this web site.

      Dr. N

  11. Ludka 2 years ago

    Hi doctor! I went off the birth control in July after 14 years. I lost some weight ( I was skinny to begin with) and then it stabilized a bit. I haven’t had my period since July so I’m still waiting for that to come back. Just in recent weeks I started feeling very hungry all the time and I do eat what I want but not gaining any weight back. I don’t necessarily crave food but I feel hungry. I’ve been having some serious abdominal, like cramps pain past few days so I’m assuming I will get my period soon. I took a pregnancy test this morning and I’m not pregnant.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 2 years ago

      Patient with autonomic problems often have low cerebral perfusion. Progesterone in BCPs boosts blood pressure to the brain (see article Menopause is Permanent PMS). Stop BCP, blood pressure to brain drops and if there is pre-existing autonomic dysfunction, nervous system is unable to compensate and brain does not get enough oxygen because of cerebral hypoperfusion. Foods with salt or carbs boost BP to brain. Brain makes you feel hungry in order to get more oxygen

  12. K 2 years ago

    I am 19 I weigh just under 8 stone and I am quite tall, I find myself always hungry although I don’t always eat large meals, When I lie down my head always hurts like am lying on a rock I don’t know whether this is connected but best to know, I never gain any weight but find my self constantly eating. I want to know whether I should get assessed by a doctor or if it’s nothing to worry about?

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 2 years ago

      I think you you should go see your doctor.

  13. Sara 2 years ago

    I always feel hungry and I over sleep all the time…I am really really thin and the doctor’s don’t know why I’m scared I might have parasites..Please help.

  14. William 2 years ago

    I am not really thin or fat but I eat at least twice what any of my friends eat. I usually eat four times a day and I am very hungry at those times. My abnormal hunger has been with me my whole life. In my family this is attributed to the “family gene” and that could be true. They say my mom’s grandfather ate a huge amount and her brother seems to. My mom might have it a little but one of my sisters definitely does. I find being so hungry to be more annoying than anything else, when it is a problem. Usually it is not an issue but sometimes it is very inconvenient to say the least. I want to find out the cause of this and anything I can do to reduce my hunger.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 2 years ago


      It is rapidly being recognized that many people get to a point where their body can no longer make fat in spite of the calories they eat. Calories are actually just a form of energy and weight nothing (similar to electricity). If they are stored in fat, weight goes up because they are stored with water – the water has the weight.

      If you can’t store the calories safely in fat, they will flow into your brain and organs and ultimately will cause health issues. This damage from excess nutrients is called overnutrition. There is a growing understanding in the importance in overnutrition as this is what causes the pancreas and heart muscle to be damaged in patients with type II Diabetes.

      Often these patients have an abnormally increased sense of hunger caused by underlying autonomic dysfunction. This causes low blood pressure and oxygen delivery to the brain. Foods that contain salt and carbohydrates will boost BP to the brain – this is the primary cause of their increased hunger.

      You should take both the autonomic and SIBO quiz in the left column to see if they apply to you. If they do, I can help you reverse this trend.

      Dr N.

  15. Gabriel 2 years ago

    Good morning

    I feel hungry in less than 30minutes I finished a meal and I still look skinny, even eating late night and waking up the next morning it more like I didn’t eat last night.
    Pls what’s wrong and what can I do?

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 2 years ago


      A quick return of hunger after meals such as yours in often due to damage of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. With sympathetic damage, a large meal causes a drop in blood pressure and oxygen delivery to your brain.

      The brain doesn’t like this and often makes people crave salt or sugar as these nutrients can boost blood pressure in the brain and alleviate the threatening low oxygen levels. That’s why you get hungry again.

      Take the autonomic brain quiz in the left column of the blog to see where you stand.

      Dr. N

  16. Sandy 3 years ago

    I feel like I always need to be eating. After lunch, even if I’m full, I always find myself eating some more. I’m very skinny for my height and I’m finding that I keep getting sick from these habits. How can I stop this??

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 3 years ago


      Typically you have a combination of autonomic dysfunction (this results in low blood pressure and oxygen delivery to the head and often triggers increased hunger) as well as some hypothalamic damage (this is an area of the brain that regulates where and if you can make body fat) typically from linoleic toxicity from vegetable and soy oils.

      There is no quick fix to these problems but I cancan greatly improve if not reverse both.

      Patients such as yourself need to fly in to AZ for testing of your autonomic nervous system, and based on those results a a treatment plan will be developed. For the majority of patients, all subsequent follow-up visits can be done via Skype.

      Dr. N.

  17. Katty 3 years ago

    Hi Dr. Please help me. I weigh 105 I’m 23 years old and I am constantly hungry.. All the time I can have a huge meal and within one hr I’m hungry again… I can’t eat and eat and not gain a pound. What can I do to help myself.

    • Author
      Patrick Nemechek, D.O. 3 years ago


      You have 2 basic problems, an inability to make body fat and an abnormally inflated sense of hunger. This potential is very dangerous and can trigger the phenomena known as overnutrition which can result in cancer, diabetes, heart failure, fatty lifer disease or PCOS/infertility.

      I believe the inability to make body fat is because of damage to the endocannabinoid system of the hypothalamus from linoleic acid toxicity. Linoleic acid is the primary ingredient in vegetable (grape seed, sunflower, safflower, corn) and soy oils as well as margarine and shortening. Cut these out and begin supplementing with 2 tbsp of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) per day – it needs to come from California because of the high amount of fraud in European EVOO.

      The hunger is probably due to chronic damage to your autonomic nervous system damage. This can come from a variety of insults in your past. This is almost impossible for me to fix without testing your ANS in my office. You can start by supplementing with a high concentration DHA omega-3 fish oil.
      If you need any other info about a office visit, contact me at [email protected]

      Dr. N

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