How Blood Sugar Affects Your Mood
By Catline Jacques, MD
Have you ever found yourself feeling hangry? “Hangry,” a mash-up of the words “hungry” and “angry,” is used to describe people who become short and irritable due to hunger. But what does it really mean to be “hangry”? Why do some people get angry when they reach a certain level of hunger?
While high blood sugar could be a sign that your body is not creating enough insulin to manage your food intake, low blood sugar is a sign that your body is not receiving enough glucose to function properly. The most common cause of low blood sugar in a physically healthy person is straightforward – you need to eat.
Low blood sugar can cause mood changes, making you feel depressed, anxious or irritable. For people with mood disorders or other issues controlling their mood, low blood sugar can exacerbate these issues. High blood sugar is typically an issue affecting diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar, can cause a person to feel aggressive or angry. To keep your mood stable, controlling spikes in blood sugar is key.
To maintain a stable blood sugar, many nutritionists recommend frequent small meals and snacks, ensuring the body receives nutrients every 3 to 4 hours. Extremely low-fat diets are notorious for causing mood swings, as fat is needed for energy, to support cell growth, to help you absorb nutrients and produce important hormones.
For maximum energy and satiety, many nutritionists recommend that every snack and meal contains a fat, a carb and a protein. For example, a spinach omelet with a slice of whole wheat toast for breakfast, or a snack with yogurt, fruit and nuts. Limiting coffee, regular exercise and plenty of sleep and hydration are also important factors for stabilizing your mood.
If you’re worried that your blood sugar is consistently too high or too low, make an appointment with your primary care physician to rule out other health issues.
If you’re struggling with a mood disorder and need the help of a licensed psychiatrist, call my office at your earliest convenience and let’s schedule an appointment to talk.
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