Is Hangry A Real Thing?

If you’re wondering whether the presence of hunger can actually affect our brains and hence our mood and how we react, then wonder no longer. It can, and it’s that hangry feeling that many of us might identify with. 

Not only does the body require glucose for energy production, but so does the brain. When blood sugar levels drop in states of hunger, our brain is also looking for this fuel. There can be a cascade of hormones produced if our blood sugar drops too low, including cortisol, adrenaline and insulin secretion. In such circumstances our higher brain functions that take information from the limbic system and environment and modulate various responses, become blurred and less efficient. 

Getting Hangry on a Cleanse

When we are following a cleanse we may get ‘hangry’ due to this more noticeable presence of hunger. We also need to consider that in the process of physically moving toxins, chemicals and other substances through the body we may also be moving various emotions, which can contribute to a heightened state of frustrations, anger or irritability. 

What Do You Do When You’re Hangry on a Cleanse?

  • Check-in with your body on whether it is a true feeling of hunger or whether it is fatigue, sleep deprivation, poor concentration even caffeine/alcohol withdrawals leading to certain emotions to surface
  • Have a healthy snack on hand – if you are genuinely struggling with low blood sugar and its effects, please eat (listening to your body is the first priority always)
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Before beginning a cleanse, if you are a regular snacker (e.g. eating many times a day) begin to create more space in your day between meals and snacks – this will help the transition into a cleanse and how your body responds to a new eating approach
  • Adequate sleep – 7-9 hours of quality sleep is ideal 
  • Move your body (low intensity)

Note – People who have metabolic conditions such as diabetes, pancreatic or liver disorders, and adrenal insufficiency or imbalances are particularly at risk for complications of low blood sugar due to inadequate counter-regulatory responses. 

wellness consults clinical nutritionist


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