Does caffeine make you hungry...?

Ok, so I'm looking for people's opinions on caffeine. Does it make you hungrier? I regularly 'overeat' despite eating enough otherwise. I get hunger signals soon after eating a meal (light-headedness, that acidy feeling in my stomach, craving sugar...). I regularly consume caffeinated diet drinks and also take Pro Plus before my morning runs. I feel ravenous throughout the morning no matter how much I eat, and then further on in the afternoon too. Is it the caffeine intake? I heard something about it creating a drop in blood sugar. So, I wondered if anybody else has noticed its effect on their appetite. Are you hungrier when you have a large intake of caffeine? I run about 40 miles per week. Always refuel WELL after my runs and consume a good 2200kcal per day, often more. I know this is more than enough (I'm 5'3" and 7 stone 12 so not huge or anything). So the hunger must be 'fake' caffeine-induced hunger, right? Anybody have any experience of testing this theory out? Does caffeine increase your appetite?


  • Just by looking at the history of your last few posts I think that your questions should be answered by the professional who is advising you of your diet during recovery

    Caffeinated drinks, pro plus and coffee to see you through the day and/or run IMO would not be best practice

  • Why do you take pro plus before your morning runs?

    Running on empty whilst buzzing on caffeine seems dangerous.
  • I don't run on empty - I eat a banana or toast before I head out. I use Pro Plus out of habit.
  • I get up at 5am and commute into London getting to the gym at around 8 after cycle from station to work. I then do up to an hours exercise before heading into the office for 9am where I eat breakfast. I do drink a mug of sugary tea first thing, as I find I need it – but apart from that I exercise in a fasted state. I do not believe my performance is impacted by this factor – I have plenty of energy stored in my body both glucose and fat.  

    Firstly be careful of high carb diet especially sugar or corn syrup – this stimulates insulin reduces blood sugar levels and ultimately will make you hungrier. I am not sure of the effects of diet drinks but I think I read somewhere that they trick the body and ultimately get the same result. To avoid hunger eat more protein which is proven to satisfy hunger the best but also fat is far better than carbs and doesn’t influence the production of insulin.  Nuts are a great food for satisfying hunger and contrary to popular believe don’t make you fat!!

  • As a regular coffee drinker I can't say I've noticed my appetite being affected by the amount of caffeine I drink, in fact I usually find a large mug of coffee or a fizzy energy drink makes me less hungry, as it temporarily takes up a lot of space in the stomach. On a side note though, ProPlus is the stuff of the devil. It's not equivalent to coffee or even energy drinks, so that's a habit you might want to kick! 

    Edit: Having re-read your original post and done the "back-of-a-napkin" calculations, I would say 2200fcal/day is barely enough, instead of more than enough. My sums might be wrong, or this could go some way to explaining being hungry!

  • I think the fact you are feeling hungry is that you are running 40 miles a week but only consuming 2200 cals per day. With an educated guess, that is nowhere near enough. On average you burn off around 100 cals per mile. Assuming you do approx 6 miles a day that means you are surviving on 1600 cals per day. The average guideline amount being 2000. That maybe a clue as to why you are feeling hungry.
  • It sounds most likely that the hungry feeling you are getting is related to the insulin surge that you get after eating carbs especially the refined ones.  Diet drinks also create a similar effect as they stimulate insulin production.  I certainly think you should consider whether you need to take the pro plus and maybe look at what you eat and when.  I'm always starving whether I run or not so I'm very careful about what I eat and when.  Personally I don't find caffeine makes a difference other than to fill my stomach like Pethead says - a large glass of water or herbal tea does the same.

    With regards to your calorie intake - the best judge is probably whether you are losing/gaining/stable weight or clothes size.  If you only weigh 7 stone something and are 5'3" then the average guideline calorie intake of 2000 when averagely active will be a huge over-estimation - it is for most women (I'm 5'7" and weigh 61 kg and would gain a lot of weight if I ate that much and didn't run 40 miles a week). I average somewhere around 1900 calories and keep my weight stable so you probably don't need as much.  I also think that for me 100 cal/mile is too much - I estimate approx 1cal/kg/mile = 61 for me.

  • Doesn't sound like much fun Fiona!

  • Fiona – do you really need to count calories? Have you experimented with varied amounts of fat and protein vs carbs? There is a body of opinion that says you can eat more calories from fat and protein and lose more weight vs the same number calories from carbohydrate?

  • That is what I did to lose weight in the first place.  I've lost over 10kg by increasing protein and fat and eating way less carbs than I was doing.  If certainly isn't fun and means that I'm always watching what I eat, but if I'm not really careful I just find the waistband gets tight and the spare tyre larger. image

  • I certainly thought 2000 was a lot for someone my size. I've been told by a dietician who I worked with a bit in eating disorder recovery I need about 1700-1800 calories for my lifestyle and running. Which is why I know I'm eating more than enough. Hence the question regarding caffeine. I shouldn't be hungry! It's so frustrating.
  • Have a look at "The coffee low down" on this should explain a lot; in particular why eating carbs makes you hungry; also look at "Fat adaptation for fuel efficiency part I (link below) . The link for part II is also below; the site is quite interesting generally!

    uknick you sound like you are following a fat adaptation protocol? Whether you are or not have a look at these (if you are not already familiar with them)

  • Completely the opposite for me. Acts as an appetite suppressant
  • I can feel hungry with too much coffee and carbs... not so much with exercise but if I'm buzzing from caffeine at work in the am (by excess consumption) I can sometimes get a slump or urge to have more carbs post lunch. I also find if I haven't eaten enough, caffeine can make my stomach feel a little upset and therefore I'll reach for something carby to settle it.

    Other times though, having a coffee wipes my appetite. So appears the answer isn't as clear!
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