New words get coined all the time. We first heard “hangry” from one of our sons characterizing his child’s behavior. The word is quite a smooth combination of hungry and angry. The simple and undoubtedly correct idea was that the child was acting up and needed something to eat to remedy this.
The biological cycle involved here is not entirely obvious to most. A prominent “hangry” response if often the result of a sugar overload an hour or more before that results in an insulin surge and an uncomfortable blood sugar dive. The simple preventative measure is not creating a sugar overload to begin with. We know well that is easier said than done, but real whole foods work. That is not often appreciated. Loading up with sugary cereal, drinks, breads and cookies is all too easy and indeed gratifying for a parent and certainly for ourselves as well. The reward mechanism is never very subtle. “If you go and get dressed you can have a cookie and an “energy drink” is just one variation of this time-honored technique.
The immediate remedy for the “hangry” response is of course another dose of sugar. Unfortunately that just creates another meltdown in the next couple of hours and cycle continues. As this cycle repeats over years, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and heart disease may well develop.
In church we noticed a lively 3 year old ahead of us clutching a coloring book and a freezer bag full of sugary cereal and candy. The obvious intent was to keep the child occupied during the service. The meltdown from this high sugar dose took just under an hour.
One of our most perceptive mentors, pediatrician Dr. Doris Rapp, spoke about this decades years ago. Some still choose to debate the issue, but she knew well from observation and critical thinking what has taken health scientists many years to confirm: Sugar loads affect behavior. Dr Rapp has taught us much regarding the disorders caused by “Our Toxic World.” As her book cover states, it’s a true wake up call.
We tend to avoid processed foods and certainly sugary cereals and drinks. Our perspective is that real whole uncontaminated food results in optimal human function.