Getting “hangry” is something we joke about. That said, it’s also a real thing that you can manage by changing the way you eat. The key is making sure you eat in a timely fashion, and consuming carbs the right way. Here’s some help for the hangry:
First things first: regular snacks and mealtimes are important. The way most of us live and work is regimented by time, and so we need to be sure to eat in a way that supports that lifestyle. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re hungry, but even before your hunger becomes distracting, you may already be experiencing the effects of low blood sugar and the hormones your body sends out in response to low blood sugar. So, that’s step one: eat regularly. You can learn more about the biology behind this in this article from The Cleveland Clinic.
The second piece of the puzzle is getting a handle on your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate, or the starch and sugar in food, is often scapegoated in nutrition media. The fact is, it’s an important part of your diet, and not a problem as long as you consume it in a balanced way.
Help for the Hangry: Pick Better Snacks
The problem comes when starches and sugars are consumed in the absence of other nutrients, specifically protein or fat. Whether it’s the bag of popcorn you consume while sitting in front of your computer, or the cookies you munch on between meetings, it’s likely that these snacks are doing more harm than good. While they will provide a rapid fix for your dipping blood sugars, they’ll do it to fast. Your body responds to a rapid increase in blood sugar by producing insulin proportionally to encourage your cells to absorb the sugars. The result can be dramatically reduced blood sugar. This is especially true for people with reactive hypoglycemia.
The solution is picking better snacks for yourself. You want some carbohydrate because it helps raise your blood sugar. You also want some protein and/or fat to slow the rate at which your body absorbs the carbohydrate. Protein and fat also provide another, longer terms source of energy for your body to burn. This will help you keep from getting hungry for longer. So, be intentional with your snacking. Do yourself the favor of choosing healthy snacks and setting yourself up for success!
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