When supplementing with creatine, it’s possible you could experience some indirect side effects, like feeling more hungry. Here’s everything you need to know about creatine and hunger.
- Creatine is not a supplement that directly interferes with your appetite or metabolism, so merely consuming it is unlikely to make you feel more hungry.
- However, creatine use increases your performance capacity, and the effects of this could be attributed to a change in your appetite.
- You could be mistaking your hunger cues for thirst, as creatine users in loading phases might need more water.
Medical Disclaimer: The material presented in this article aims to offer informational insights. It should not be perceived as medical guidance. The views and writings are not designed for diagnosing, preventing, or treating health issues. Always consult with your physician prior to starting any new dietary or supplement routine.
Reports of Creatine & Hunger
There is no available research specifically addressing whether using creatine will increase your appetite, possibly because as a compound creatine isn’t an appetite stimulant, it is a form of energy for your muscles.
With that said, though, anecdotal reports of people feeling hungrier following creatine use are appearing across many internet forums.
Those searching the impact of creatine on their appetite are reporting:
- “Feeling ravenous”
- “Feeling insanely hungry”
- “Feeling hungry all the time”
Some common themes among people reporting these feelings were:
- Confusion around whether creatine could cause hunger;
- Changes in their workout intensity;
- Young in age;
- Possible calorie deficit for the type of training being undertaken
- Using multiple supplements at the same time as creatine.
So, if you’re feeling hungry following creatine use, rest assured you are not alone and are in the right place to understand why there might be a connection.
- Related: Types of Creatine
I’m Feeling More Hungry: Is This Because Of Creatine?
Taking creatine is probably not the root cause of your increased hunger.
Creatine supplementation increases energy stores in your muscles, allowing you to work harder and longer during your training sessions.
So, with more energy in your muscles, your training capacity intensifies. This has three knock-on effects:
- You are expending more energy because your muscles can work harder.
- You have an increase in muscle tissue.
- Water is being redirected into your muscles with less fluid than available for other body functions.
Let’s discuss each of these below.
Expending More Energy
By your muscles being able to work harder in your workouts, you will burn more calories as a result.
So, if you haven’t adjusted your calorie consumption when commencing creatine supplementation, you may find you aren’t providing enough calories to your body to support your workout efforts. This could leave you feeling more hungry.
Other important factors to consider around creatine use, energy expenditure, and hunger levels are:
- Whether you are taking carbohydrates with your creatine before training. Creatine taken with a carbohydrate (of around 250 calories) has been shown to assist you in maintaining a higher workout intensity for longer. So, if you are taking creatine with carbs before training, your muscles will be able to work harder but also sustain that effort for longer. This could leave you feeling hungry.
- Pre and post-workout nutrition. It is important to fuel your body with appropriate sustenance when training. So, nutrition timing could play a role in your hunger levels, particularly if you haven’t eaten before training or haven’t eaten for a significant period following the end of a workout.
Increasing Muscle Mass
Supplementing with creatine has been proven to increase lean muscle mass. Muscle is an inefficient energy source, meaning your body needs more calories to support its maintenance and function.
So, if you’re supplementing with creatine, following a resistance training program, and working hard, you’ll build muscle. With increased muscle mass, your body will require more calories to maintain this muscle.
If you haven’t adjusted your caloric needs in line with body composition changes, again, you’ll find that your body will be burning more calories (even when not working out), but not consuming enough calories to support the increased muscle, leaving you feeling hungrier.
When stored in your muscles, creatine will also draw water into your muscles. This is very typical when you start using it.
During this initial supplementation phase, you may need to consume more water because creatine drawing water into your muscles will detract water from supporting other systems in your body.
So, if you aren’t hydrating enough, you may be left feeling thirsty. For some, thirst could be confused with hunger, particularly during or following intense training sessions.
- Related Article: Should Beginners Take Creatine?
Other Reasons Your Hunger Is Increasing
While it is unlikely that creatine has a direct link to you feeling more hungry when using, other factors around your supplementation may be influencing your hunger levels.
Your Age and Associated Hormonal Changes
If you’re young or still in your developing teenage years, you could be experiencing hormonal changes in your body.
Through development, changes, and growth, your body will crave calories to support this function, and if you aren’t consuming enough to support the work and changes your body is going through, you could feel hungry.
- Related Article: Does Creatine Help You Lose Weight?
What You’re Mixing Your Creatine With
If you’re mixing your creatine with sugary drinks or drinks with many artificial sweeteners, these liquids infrequent and high consumption could suppress your appetite cues, leaving you thinking you’re hungry and craving food.
Using Anabolic Steroids
Research has shown that anabolic steroid use will increase your appetite. So, if this is a part of your supplementation along with creatine, it’s likely this could make you feel more hungry.
Other Creatine Resources
- Creatine Makes Me Tired: Causes & How To Fix
- Does Creatine Make You More Aggressive? (Science-Backed)
Koenig, Chad A1,2; Benardot, Dan1,3,4; Cody, Mildred1; Thompson, Walter R1,3,4. Comparison of Creatine Monohydrate and Carbohydrate Supplementation on Repeated Jump Height Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22(4):p 1081-1086, July 2008. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816a58c6
Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 20;9(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33. PMID: 22817979; PMCID: PMC3407788.
Darnton SJ, Zgainski B, Grenier I, Allister K, Hiller L, McManus KG, Steyn RS. The use of an anabolic steroid (nandrolone decanoate) to improve nutritional status after esophageal resection for carcinoma. Dis Esophagus. 1999;12(4):283-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-2050.1999.00074.x. PMID: 10770363.
About The Author
Steph Catalucci is an online nutrition coach from Australia, working with clients all over the world. Her passion for nutrition was born through wanting to treat her body better, for health and performance. She is a strong advocate for understanding nutrition to develop informed nutritional habits that go beyond just food. Steph leverages a decade of her own nutritional experience to help people make sense of the noise and carve a path forward with their nutrition, supporting clients with whatever body composition goal they have. When not coaching or writing, you’ll find her training for her next powerlifting competition.
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