Your appetite is the key to controlling your weight change: you can’t gain weight if you don’t eat. How to increase appetite naturally? That’s today’s topic!
The way your appetite functions is the key to controlling your normal intake. It’s easier to gain weight if you’re hungry and don’t have to force feed yourself. The more calories you naturally want to eat, the more consistent that weight gain will be.
Driving these changes can be difficult, so today we’re discussing some of the keys to increasing appetite naturally. We’ll be looking at some of the most important ways to boost appetite naturally:
So, by the end of this article, you’re ready to pack on serious mass with less struggle, more success, and a better experience along the way!
Basics: How Appetite Works
At the simplest level, appetite is about controlling your energy level - trying to get it to a point where your intake and output of energy are balanced. Your body has a general sense of how much energy you have, need, and what it takes to get these two in balance.
Your body will always bias you towards more intake, at a physiological level. It wants to store fat because - historically - we’ve always had the risk of prolonged fasting and starvation. In the 21st century, that’s not a survival risk, but we’ve evolved to hold onto this desire for energy stores.
The feeling of hunger happens in the battle between pro- and anti-feeding hormones. Energy deficiency produces a deep sense of hunger, which is also impacted by the balance of leptin and ghrelin - two hormones that signal for hunger and fullness respectively.
These hormones are affected by the stomach and gut, where they signal for fullness based on both the sensing of food and the volume of food in the stomach. The physical space that food takes up in your stomach produces a chemical response that says “I’ve got food, reduce hunger signals”.
This balance is why we can change the way we eat for more energy without actually producing more fullness. Energy-signaling is slower than fullness-signaling (because you actually have to digest food before your body knows how much energy you’re getting).
When you eat, you signal for satiety, depending on what you eat and how much. This also takes a little time, which is why eating more slowly causes people to feel fuller, and eating faster helps people beat fullness and gain more weight. This happens because of thyroid hormones, insulin action, and the gut’s own hormone system.
Changes in hormones from other areas like exercise, sleep (or sleep loss), stress, and other factors can tip appetite up or down. This is why regulating your lifestyle outside of food is a great way to control your appetite, align it with your goals, and improve your results.
How to Increase Your Appetite Naturally
Exercise: Movement Needs Fuel
Exercising helps you gain weight( and increase appetite), when you’re eating to get bigger and stronger. It’s a stimulus that makes muscle gain possible. After all, where are all those calories going?
When you exercise regularly, you may be using more calories but your body can compensate for that use with proper diet and appetite. Your body wants balance between intake and output, so regular exercise does increase appetite in line with your needs to stay neutral.
However, we can use the increased appetite that comes immediately after exercise to drive better muscle and weight gain. Eating more calories, protein, and carbs are how you drive muscle growth, tendon strengthening, and even improve the density of your bones.
Obviously, your main focus is strength training - the key to all of those changes. However, daily activity levels should be healthy and a little cardio can be a great way to regulate hormones and keep appetite up - especially in the morning.
Movement can be anything - including mobility and injury prevention exercise in the morning. If you’re not a big breakfast person, this morning movement habit is one way of driving appetite up and squeezing in another meal.
Not only is exercise the driving force behind quality weight, but it also helps you avoid those down days where you don’t want to eat, or habits of not eating - either in the morning or evening. Pair your hard work with great food and you’ll see results (increase in appetite), over time.
Sleep: Control your Hormones
Sleep is one of the most important regulators of your hormones and sleep deprivation is one way to hamstring your results.
When you sleep, your energy reserves are replenished both mentally and physically. Your body pushes recovery processes to the front of the queue and allows you to build more muscle, strengthen tendons, and improve nervous system function.
The result of good sleep is good performance and those weekly improvements in strength, muscle, and weight gain that you’re looking for. This directly regulates your appetite through hormones like insulin, thyroid hormones, and mood-adjusters like testosterone. Poor sleep can seriously change these kinds of hormones up to 17% with only 1-2 hours of sleep loss per night.
Sleeping 8-9 hours a night without disturbance in a cool, dark, quiet room is the key to regulating diet, and one of the best indirect ways to increase appetite. It’s a whole-body energy-adjustment process that most people underrate.
Sleep also directly controls stress-management, diet choices, and exercise performance. Sleep is a single habit that has far-reaching knock-on effects.
Diet: What you Eat - and How
Appetite and diet are two sides of the same coin. You can’t ignore diet and what you eat as a factor in fullness, hunger, and cravings. Your diet as a whole is a huge factor - and far too personal to give perfect advice.
There are a few places to look for ‘rules of thumb’ that you can use to improve your diet and how it supports your appetite.
Calorie-Density and Satiety
This is a measure of how many calories you get from food compared to its volume. This means the sheer space food takes up in the stomach, which is a key factor for how filling it is.
For gaining weight, your diet should consist of calorie dense foods that increase appetite wherever possible. These provide calories (hopefully from protein and high-quality carbs) to support your weight-gain without drastically reducing your appetite or keeping you too full for too long.
This is why foods like nut butter, red meats, and high-calorie dairy products are popular for gaining weight. They are typically rich in calories while also providing essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.
The more of these foods you have in your diet, naturally, the higher it will be in calories. You’ll also have foods that clear quickly and provide basic calories - like white rice. This is a great carb source for getting calories “in and out” quickly to fuel workouts and replenish energy stores after a workout. Calorie density should be compared to satiety and volume for most diets.
Some of these foods are questionable for their nutritional value. For example, a tub of ice cream is calorie dense but nutrient-sparse. It’s got a lot of calories but they’re typically from low-quality fats and sugars. The challenge is using high-calorie, high-nutrient foods.
This typically means relying on high-quality starchy carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy without too much fiber. These foods are high in energy relative to weight and size, provide energy for the muscles (specifically), and don’t feel as heavy and slow-digesting.
Equally, high-quality fats offer more calories per gram than other foods at 9/g (compared to 4/g for carbs and proteins).
This makes high-quality fats from nuts, seeds, cultured dairy, and seafood a fantastic source of both calories and high-quality fatty acids. Again, this leads most people to nut butters, adding oil to foods, and eating things like Avocado.
Stress-Control: Rest and Recover
Stress puts you into an energy-sparing state where you’re trying to conserve energy because your body thinks you’re in trouble. This makes it difficult to kick up the energy-abundance processes that are used to build muscle and strength. It also limits recovery of tissues, mental energy, and hormonal function.
Stress management is one way you can improve both your appetite and the processes that make you bigger, stronger, and happier.
Stress control comes from different sources. The first, most obvious, and most difficult is actually reducing incoming stress in life from work, academia, family, and other sources. This is why elite athletes tend to live simple lives that reduce chaos, first and foremost. This isn’t always possible, but reducing these stresses alone can contribute to better results.
You can also go the other way and reduce stress after it’s happened. This includes things like stress-reducing nutrients - which you can find in green tea, chamomile, valerian, and other anti-stress herbal extracts. These also appear in high-quality natural appetite supplements where they control stress and build both better appetite, hormonal health, and sleep quality.
Natural Appetite Supplements for Weight Gain
Many natural supplements and ingredients can improve appetite. There are traditional medicines and herbal extracts around the world that do exactly that. Appetite boosting ingredients work in a variety of ways and there are some great combinations you can use to get hungry and gain weight.
The most important is simply boosting appetite. This is the obvious one: some herbs make you hungrier which drives you to eat more, consume more calories and protein, and gain more weight. This is a great way to get around trying to gain weight but not being hungry enough with herbal extracts like Gentiana Lutea and even Ashwagandha.
One alternative type of appetite booster is any digestive ingredient that supports food turnover. That means the clearing out of fullness and getting back to hunger after a meal - a key for how often you eat and thus your intake and results.
Many high-quality plant extracts are great for this, like ginseng and glucoamylase. These both improve the uptake of nutrients from your food (meaning better nutrition per gram) and help to digest difficult nutrients in the gut. The result is a faster, more effective digestion process, and a quicker turnaround on your hunger.
Other ingredients simply improve how you handle energy and the nutrients from food. Things like D-aspartic acid and B vitamins can improve your metabolism of food and the uptake of energy. This means you’re getting more from your food, driving better muscle building and energy storage.
Other vitamins and minerals are key to the appetite, feeding, and energy-absorption process. Nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D are regulators of hormones that interact with hunger, mood, and fatigue. Keeping intake high helps reduce the risk of low mood, exhaustion, and supports both regular appetite and supports processes like exercise and sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to increase appetite naturally?
The best way to increase your appetite naturally is to improve your diet, sleep, and stress-management. You should also maintain regular exercise to provide the best hunger cues and make sure your food turns into muscle mass and connective tissues.
You can increase appetite with natural supplements, too. These include vitamins, minerals, and appetite-boosting herbal extracts. Supplements like AppetiteMax offer increased appetite, metabolic support, and better digestive health.
What controls appetite?
Appetite is a result of the hormones in your body. Those hormones depend on a number of lifestyle factors that you can control, as well as some factors outside of your control (like genetics):
- Exercise and activity throughout the day
- Diet: amounts, timing, sources, and different personal needs
- Stress levels and how you manage them
- Sleep quantity and quality
- Supplement use and vitamin/mineral status
You can control these factors to improve your appetite, either to reduce or increase it. In most cases, the goal is to regulate appetite to a level that is appropriate for both your needs and goals. The starting point is to align hunger with your daily requirements, and then to adjust that up or down for your dietary goals!
Appetite is both something you control and something that controls you. It’s in the things you do on a daily basis and the appetite supplements you use that you can drastically change what a weight-gain diet feels like. It can be a struggle with low appetite or you can improve your appetite and make it easier.
We’ve discussed a range of different ways to increase your appetite. The more you make use of, the easier it will all get. It’s also important that these different factors interact with each other: the better your sleep, the better your stress-control, the better your diet.
Equally, a good natural appetite supplement can improve your sleep quality and hormonal balance through dietary choices and metabolic support.
These kinds of factors all add up. In fact, they multiply - having more good habits exponentially improves the experience and your chances of success. Setting yourself up for success is best when you put time into all of these categories. If you align everything you do with the results you want then you’re going to succeed.
Point your habits at your goals, support your appetite with quality habits and nutrients, and you’re halfway towards success. All that remains is the time and effort you put in!