When supplementing with creatine, it’s possible you could experience some indirect side effects, like feeling more hungry.
Does creatine make you more hungry? 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 causing a change in your appetite.
In this article, I’ll explore the connection between creatine use and its impact on hunger levels.
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 you’re in the right place to understand why there might be a connection.
- Learn more about creatine in the article 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 works by increasing energy stores in your muscles, which allows you to work harder and longer during your training sessions. So with more energy in your muscles, your training capacity intensifies:
- Causing you to expend more energy than you were before using creatine because your muscles can work harder;
- Resulting in an increase in muscle tissue; and
- Water being redirected into your muscles with less fluid then 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 prior to 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 prior to 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 prior to training or haven’t eaten for a significant period following the end of a workout.
Reach out to a nutrition coach or a dietician if you need assistance with understanding your caloric needs to support your training efforts while using creatine.
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 be building 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.
Creatine when stored in your muscles will also draw water into your muscles. This is very typical when you start using it.
During this initial phase of supplementation you may need to consume more water, because with creatine drawing water into your muscles, it 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 if it is during or following intense training sessions.
- Related Article: Should Beginners Take Creatine? Who SHOULD & Should NOT Use
Other Reasons Your Hunger Is Increasing
While it is unlikely that creatine has a direct link to you feeling more hungry when using, it is possible 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 a lot of 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 be a factor in you feeling more hungry.
Other Creatine Resources
- Creatine Makes Me Tired: Causes & How To Fix
- Does Creatine Make You More Aggressive? (Science-Backed)
Creatine is unlikely to be the primary culprit affecting your appetite and increased hunger levels, but it may contribute to changes in your energy expenditure and hydration. So, make sure your nutrition and hydration is such that it supports your training goals and intensity.
About The Author
Steph Catalucci | Nutrition Coach
@macronutritionau | macro-nutrition.com.au
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.