What is Hanger? We’ve all been there before. You feel so hungry that you’re angry at the world for not having food. You want ALL THE FOOD and feel like you will actually starve and waste away if you don’t get your hands on some grub right this second. You KNOW what hanger is. What you may not know is that hanger is a biochemical response to low blood sugar levels. For people who are more sensitive to low blood sugar levels than others, hanger symptoms can be stronger. Hanger is the result of waiting so long to eat that your blood sugars drop to dangerously low levels. These low levels impair your mood and likely your judgment too, causing you to feel desperate and out of control. You’re not alone. Being hangry is real and there is a solution.What happens when you’re hangry? The first thing you’ll want to do is choose the most calorie dense, sugary, carb-laden (er…fake!) food out there. This is simply because your body is smart smart and wants the fastest way to get those low blood sugar levels back to normal. NO WONDER you crave sugar! The problem with this urge to grab the quickest sugar you can, is that we usually over compensate and our blood sugar levels end up skyrocketing through the roof which sets us up for a ride on the blood sugar roller coaster. What should you eat when you’re hangry? You’re going to crave SUGAR, but it’s über important for you to eat a PFC balanced meal or snack (click here for ideas). Eating sugar causes you to crave more sugar, so now is the time to stop that vicious cycle once and for all! Is hanger preventable? Yes! You don’t have to get hangry anymore! This is the exciting part. You CAN control your emotions. Getting hangry and craving sugar is NOT simply about having a certain amount of willpower or controlling your emotions! It’s learning how to balance your biochemistry. You have the power to provide your body with the nutrients that support your biochemistry and set yourself up for daily success. The underlying key to controlling your emotions, experiencing stable moods, staving off cravings, and keeping hanger under control is stable blood sugar levels. Balanced blood sugars contribute to consistent energy levels, better focus, stable moods and no cravings.
How to prevent hanger:
- Get off the blood sugar roller coaster. Do this by following the Three-Three Rule and eating protein, fat and carbohydrates (PFC!) every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable. When you eat this way, you prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing.
- Avoid hanger by eating real, whole foods. The less packaged, processed and refined, the better. Quality protein from meat, fish and eggs, healthy fat from nuts, seeds, avocados and butter along with nutritious carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits help regulate your blood sugar levels. Avoid the massive spikes in blood sugar levels (what goes up, must come down) by eating REAL foods.
- Never eat a carbohydrate alone. Carbohydrates, the macronutrient most consumed when following the SAD (Standard American Diet), are also the macronutrient that contributes to the greatest instability in blood sugar levels. Consuming carbs with little to no fat (which acts as a buffer and minimizes the potentially damaging effect of carbs) sets you up for a ride on the blood sugar roller coaster which can lead you down that doomed path of hanger. Be sure to include a protein and fat with a carbohydrate.