Why do I feel like I’m going to vomit when I’m hungry?

Why do I feel like I’m going to vomit when I’m hungry?

You’ve skipped breakfast, you worked through lunch, and now you feel like you’re about to throw up. Yes, you’re suffering from hunger induced nausea.

Missing meals can, in fact make you feel nauseous, and yes, there is something you can do about it.

It feels counterintuitive that you feel like you need to throw up when you’re hungry after all, there’s a good chance that there’s nothing in your stomach to throw up. And even if there were,vomiting it out would mean there was even less food inside you. Potentially making you even hungrier (although being sick can itself be a barrier to hunger).

To get a better idea of what makes people feel sick when they’ve missed a meal, let’s take a look at what is happening inside your body and the effects this can have on you.

Blood sugar drop

Your body needs carbohydrates for energy. These are converted into simple sugars by enzymes and provide energy to the cells in your body. Without sugar from carbohydrates, your muscles brain, and nervous system don’t work properly. You’ll feel sluggish, you won’t be able to think properly, you may even develop a headache or nausea (which can cause you to feel sick).

Your blood flow will also start to slow down as your body attempts to preserve as much energy as it can by making you less active.

Low blood sugar – or hypoglycemia as it’s also known – doesn’t just affect people with diabetes. And nausea is just one of the ways it can have a negative effect on you. As your blood sugar level continues to drop, you may also experience blurred vision, confusion,  and tiredness. When your hypoglycemia gets really bad expect seizures, fits, and eventual collapse. You should address the issue when (or preferably before) you reach the nausea stage.

Stomach acid

Stomach acid exists to help chemically break down food which would otherwise be difficult to digest. It’s important, and without it, humans would be reduced to eating semi-predigested sludge. If you’re eating normally with meals and snacks consumed regularly throughout the day, stomach acid is your friend and ensures that he nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats your body needs are absorbed as efficiently as possible.

Your stomach produces more acid  during and after a meal, but that doesn’t mean that production stops altogether just because your stomach is empty! Excess stomach acid on an empty stomach can cause acid reflux, and a range of other symptoms including abdominal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and again counterintuitively, decreased appetite.

So, yes. excess stomach acid caused by not eating can make you feel sick.

As a short term remedy, consider an antacid to get your stomach acid under control until you can make it to your next snack

How to deal with nausea when you’re hungry

The obvious answer is to eat something. This will address both of the issues above – it will raise your blood sugar back to normal levels, giving your body and brain the fuel it needs, and reducing or eliminating nausea. It will also give your stomach something to do with the stomach acid it is producing and keeping it occupied until the next mealtime.

If you don’t have time for a meal or a sandwich,  a chocolate bar will do wonders for your blood sugar and your mood.

August Jones

Hi. My name's August Jones - I'm a fantastic amateur chef and a self-proclaimed food expert. I spend most of my life in kitchens cooking and preparing wholesome meals for anywhere between two and 20 people. If you need a banquet or an intimate meal, I can help you out! I plan on using the pages at obeyyourhunger.com to share my decades of culinary expertise, and excellence