Is "Hangry" A Real Thing?
It sure is! This year, it’s even an official word in the Oxford dictionary. So don’t feel bad when you’re a little testy and someone jokes that you might need something to eat. “Hangry” is real, but it’s likely due to an irritability response rather than anger. If your hunger increases, so might your irritability!
Our body needs fuel (a.k.a food) to get us through the day. While the optimal fuels/food for our bodies are lean proteins, 100% whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables, when we get “hangry,” we don’t always gravitate to these healthier options.
How Does Hangry Happen?
Irritability and being hangry may be a symptom of your body experiencing a low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. While many think that low blood sugar can only happen to people who have diabetes, it can happen to anyone. Some people experience low blood sugar and may not be aware that is what’s happening. If this happens to you frequently, discuss it with your doctor as it can lead to other health problems. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are dizziness, headaches, sweating, personality changes, shaking, sweating, confusion and an inability to concentrate.
When we eat food, it starts to get broken down the minute we start chewing. Carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals absorb at various places along the digestive tract. The sugar or carbs in our food get absorbed into our bodies as glucose. The glucose sits in the blood stream until insulin comes along to help the glucose get into muscles so the body can utilize it. Our bodies use the breakdowns from our food for the next few hours for energy and to carry out other necessary functions. However, if we don’t replenish those stores on a regular basis throughout the day, we start to feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia and eventually get hangry.
How To Prevent Hangry
Don’t skip meals. Eat at regular times, or if your meal might be delayed, carry a snack with you. An example of a snack that may stave off hangry includes something with healthy carbs and protein. Good examples of portable snacks are a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds, or whole grain crackers and peanut butter.
Avoid high sugar/sweetened beverages such as soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, and lemonade. While they might create a temporary boost in energy, it won’t last as your blood sugar will drop again.
Eat balanced meals and snacks made up of lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables. The more balanced the meal or snack, the less likely getting hangry becomes!