You must have been through days where you became snappy and grumpy for no real reason except for the fact that you’re probably starving. It’s a rather silly reason to lose your cool but it happens all the time, especially on busy days. You eventually get ‘hangry’ when you have a full schedule and decide that the sandwich you had for breakfast will get you through the day.
Why You Get Hangry
The food you eat mostly consists of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which get converted simple sugars (such as glucose), amino acids and free fatty acids respectively. Your body passes these nutrients into your bloodstream from where they are distributed to your organs and tissues and used for energy. As the day goes by, if you do not eat, the nutrients circulating in your bloodstream starts to drop.
Low Blood Glucose
If your blood-glucose levels fall far enough, your brain will perceive it as a life-threatening situation. That’s because your brain is critically dependent on glucose to do its job. This is why you have trouble concentrating or thinking creatively when you’re hungry and your blood glucose levels drop. Your social interactions also get affected and you may lose your temper on the smallest mistake.
Another reason you can become hangry is when blood-glucose levels drop to a certain threshold. Your brain then sends instructions to several organs in your body to synthesize and release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Some of these hormones are also are stress hormones that are released into your bloodstream during stressful situations. These hormones evoke a “fight or flight” response which makes you lash out when you’re hangry.
5 Ways You Can Avoid Being Hangry
1. Eat More Often
Eating your meals on time is the simplest and most effective way to avoid getting hangry. When your blood sugar dips too low, the side effects generally include headache, anxiety, and agitation. And if you’re starving yourself to lose weight, you should know that your body is not going to straight away burn your belly fat. Under-eating also triggers a breakdown of lean muscle, the metabolism-revving tissue. To keep your both mind and body stable, set your cell phone alarm to go off to remind yourself to stop and eat lunch and have snacks.
2. Fill Up On Fiber
Another way to make sure your body keeps getting its fuel is by adding more fiber to your diet. Fiber takes longer to chew, takes up more space in your digestive system, fills you up, and helps regulate blood sugar and insulin response. This results in steady energy over a longer period of time without a sharp dip in blood sugar. You should aim to have at least 25 grams per day.
3. Have Proteins And Fats
When you eat something that is low in fiber, protein, and fat, like bagels, candy, or pasta, you probably will notice how quickly your hunger returns. Protein and fat delay stomach emptying and boost satiety. They help you feel fuller longer and delay the return of hunger, so incorporating them into meals is a smart way to avoid blood sugar swings and to steady your mood. However, make sure you consume lean protein or heart healthy fat.
4. Munch On Mood-Leveling Foods
Research has shown that some foods have the ability to affect your mood. In a study, scientists asked nearly 300 young adults to complete daily food diaries for three weeks, which included psychological and mood-related ratings. The results showed that having more of fruits and veggies results in more energy, calmness, and greater feelings of happiness. So make sure your meals always include produce.
5. Keep Yourself Hydrated
If you want to feel great all day long, avoid sugary drinks and artificial sweeteners and reach for water and unsweetened hot or chilled green tea instead to stay hydrated. In a British food and mood study, more than 70% of the participants reported that upping their water intake improved their mood. The best way to keep yourself hydrated is to have a goal of finishing 2-3 bottles of water every single day.