Tuesday, March 16

The Hunger Chat

Wouldn’t it be great if at one point in our lives our parents sat us down said, “Son, we need to have a chat. You’re becoming a man now, and you’re going to start feeling hungry all the time. Don’t worry, son, it’s a normal part of life. But let me share some secrets with you that will help you manage that hunger.”

Aside from being a really creepy conversation (especially if you were a girl reading that), wouldn’t it be nice if someone had actually taught us about food and how to eat? We have habits and reasons for eating what we eat and when we eat it, but we’re not aware of half them nor do we know where they came from.

Hunger is the biggest reason that we make many of our food and drink decisions throughout the day (there are also emotional and psychological reasons, but we’ll talk about those later). Hunger is just our bodies’ way of letting us know we need energy. There are ways we can eat that energize our bodies more efficiently than others.

When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts them to glucose and your blood sugar (literally, the sugar in your blood) rises. This gives you more energy—you feel more awake and alert. This is what is happening when you go to your coworker’s desk to ask a question and sneak a Snickers from the candy jar there. You’re giving your body an infusion of energy.

But that energy isn’t going to last long with just sugar in your system. Your blood sugar rises rapidly, then the sugar is absorbed and your blood sugar falls rapidly—you begin to feel tired and lagged. This leaves your body looking for energy, and it knows where the best sources of energy are: sweet foods! You eat that Snickers bar, but 20 minutes later you’re thinking about another one. Or several.

When you eat protein and fats, they take longer for your body to metabolize them (to turn them into energy). This is where balance is key! If you were to just eat protein or fat, you wouldn’t get that spike of energy from having your blood sugar rise.

So you eat a little carbs and a little protein or fat: the carbs spike your blood sugar up but, just at the point when your body uses up the carbs, your body is releasing the glucose and amino acids from metabolizing the protein and fats. Your blood sugar is now up and it stays up! You feel energized for hours and you’re body is burning calories efficiently. And your blood sugar slowly lowers as you use energy, so that you’re not hungry until your next meal time.


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