3 Tricks to Avoid a “Hangry” State of Mind

angry, frustrated woman
Are you lashing out because of low blood sugar?
We all know from personal experience what can happen when we get too hungry: our energy wanes. We have a short fuse. We’re unapologetically cranky. In fact, “hangry” (hungry + angry) has become the popular shorthand for the downward spiral that occurs when our blood glucose drops too low. It may not be a clinical term, but it sure sums up this grouchy state of mind.
Voodoo” Medicine 
Now there’s more to the story. A new study reported earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that avoiding such blood sugar lows may also help your marriage.
Using voodoo dolls, researches were able to “pinpoint” how blood sugar levels correlate to anger or aggressive impulses between husbands and wives. Participants who had the lowest blood glucose levels reported feeling the most unhappy with their spouses and stuck more than twice as many pins into the dolls as compared to those with the highest levels. The researchers also blasted their spouses’ headphones with louder noises and for longer periods of time than those with better blood glucose levels. Ouch.
Status: Hangry
While we may find humor in the methods used to test these impulses, the findings point to a deeper truth: This study reaffirms the important role that managing blood glucose levels throughout the day has on optimizing effect on our state of mind.
Here are three strategies to avoid becoming “hangry”:
1. Don’t Go Too Long Between Meals
In the study, negative feelings typically occurred at night. This isn’t surprising, as a day of undereating (because you forget, are dieting, or are simply too busy) can be a contributing culprit. The best way to keep your blood glucose levels from spiking and dropping during the day is to eat regular meals and snacks, starting with a robust breakfast.
2. Choose Your Carbohydrates Wisely
Glucose is the brain’s primary fuel source. Getting a steady stream of it during the leads to better self control and management of aggressive impulses, researchers found. But the right types make all the difference: Avoid foods filled with refined and added sugars (i.e. a candy bar) as they can send your blood sugar soaring and then crashing – definitely not a recipe for marital bliss. Choose minimally processed, whole food carbohydrates instead – such as whole grains, legumes, fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives. Also aim for at least 3 grams of fiber in your breads and cereals per serving to be sure they stick with you longer.
3. Have a Healthy Fix on Hand
A little planning goes a long way; try to pack healthy, nutrient-rich snacks for your day – such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hummus or some dried fruit. Or try this insanely good raw chocolate pudding that I created for a segment Dr. Oz and I did on How to Crank-Proof Your Diet. It provides nutrient-rich carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more. And it’s so tasty that your spouse will probably thank you, too.