By Elizabeth May, RDN, CSOWM, LDN
Researchers at the University of Guelph found an interesting link between hunger and mood. Read more about the study published in Psychopharmacology here.
The Basic Gist
Rats were given glucose blockers to induce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). When the rats were removed from this chamber and injected with some water, they avoided going back in the original chamber where they experienced the hypoglycemic reaction. When researchers checked the rats, they found elevated levels of corticosterone (stress indicator). The rats were apparently stressed from the hypoglycemic experience. Not surpisingly, the rats were also more sluggish after being given the glucose blockers. However, when the rats were given antidepressants, they weren’t sluggish.
The rats experienced both stress and depression when given the glucose blockers. Researchers pointed out that hypoglycemia could have a negative long term effect on depression or even on causing depression. Nutrition yet again plays such a huge role in health!
How To Manage Hypoglycemia
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals or snacks each day rather than 2 or 3 large meals to help steady the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
- Eat consistent amounts of carbohydrates at meals and snacks each day and avoid skipping meals.
- Spread carbohydrate foods throughout the day. Include protein foods and vegetables at each meal for satiety and extra calories, if needed.
- Avoid foods that have a lot of sugar and carbohydrate, especially on an empty stomach. Examples are regular soft drinks (sugar-sweetened beverages), syrup, candy, regular fruited yogurt, cookies, pie, and cake.
- Avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause the same symptoms as hypoglycemia.
- If you choose to drink, limit alcoholic beverages to 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach and without food can cause hypoglycemia.