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We have all heard of the term “Hangry” which is a portmanteau for being in a state of hunger and angry, simultaneously. It is a confluence of symptoms that will start innocuously with abdominal growling and stomach pangs (borborygmus), gas and indigestion, and ultimately leads to full blown mental irritation, agitation and a bad temper. The comical (Snickers) commercials demonstrate people’s personalities changing because they are craving this food (typically carbs). Of course, the second they consume this food they return to their normal selves. The term and the commercial is now a mainstay in the American experience because it is so relatable to virtually everyone that consumes the standard American diet (SAD). It is so relatable to most Americans because the “SAD” diet is the most pervasive food environment that we are exposed to. And, we have been told by every authority in the health and food industries that if we follow their recommendations on what to consume – and how to exercise- that we will be healthy and live long lives. This could not be furthest from the truth. Hanger is the result of chronic overexposure to carbohydrates and when the body is devoid of them for too long, withdrawal ensues. This process can best be treated with fats and oils and placing oneself into nutritional ketosis where the body is no longer in glycolysis.
It is my opinion from 20 years of reading and studying nutrition and medical science that the connection between being in a state of “hangry” and in a state of poor health is inextricably linked. Hanger or hangry is a clinical state of substance withdrawal and the substance you are withdrawing from is a carbohydrate. The net carbohydrates that are most responsible for this addiction biochemistry would be the simple saccharides like fructose, glucose (aka dextrose) and sucrose – albeit, interchangeably. If people would understand that they were not directly responsible for their hanger, obesity, hypertension, their vascular diseases, their cancer and degenerative syndromes, they would rejoice that there is hope in ameliorating and healing their sicknesses, illnesses and all the symptoms they bear. Growling stomach is a symptom of severe sugar withdrawal and we should not mistaken it as something that is normal because sugar addiction and sugar withdrawal is not something that should ever be taken lightly!
We have been inundated with the idea that the carbohydrate is a necessary macronutrient; that, it is just as important for complete and full healthiness as its cousins, protein and fat. As mentioned before in my articles, there is no such thing as an “essential” carbohydrate; meaning human life does not depend on it for sustenance. We will not parish if we ceased consuming it. Hence, we can live healthy and full lives without consuming one bit of a carbohydrate. So, why are we told to eat the stuff by experts and government leaders? Naturopathy and Orthomolecular Science has proven that nutritional ketosis is one of the best treatment modalities for supreme health and disease prevention, yet we allow the food corporations, politicians, healthcare (sickcare) industry and pharmaceutical giants to advise us and guide our food and healthcare policy. They tell us to consume carbohydrates because it is a necessary macronutrient. The tenets of naturopathy and nutrition science should guide our food and health directives, not pharmaceutical giants and food multinationals…Period!
Carbohydrates are the only macro-food that cause addiction and subsequent withdrawal if eaten in saturation. I have read 10’s of articles on the phenomenon of “hanger” and not one relate it to sugar-addiction-withdrawal. They say it is real, they describe it as a “phenomenon”, some even go into this elaborate neuro-biological-emotional-axis in explaining its origins. I have yet to read one that explains it for what it truly is…the first sign of sugar withdrawal!
As a nurse for more than two decades and working in the ICU and critical care, I have witnessed patients going through severe withdrawal from alcohol to opioids. It is a brutal site and withdrawal can be deadly at this level. I am not referring to this level of withdrawal. But we need to recognize that a growling stomach is neither healthy or normal. If this approach was taken then we would normally ask: what are we addicted to and how should we treat it?
I eluded to the treatment earlier and that is “nutritional ketosis”. Vince Gironda and Ron Kosloff have been preaching about fats and proteins being the principle foods for superior health and strength for forty years. Now it is the internet sensation…ketosis, ketones, nutritional ketosis, ketogenesis. There are over a couple hundred thousand searches for it each month on Google (Paleo Mag. Special Edition: keto, the definitive guide). Alone with all the incredible benefits of going super low carb, putting the body’s metabolism in nutritional ketosis is the healthiest metabolic pathway one can attain. The biggest hurdle I have come across is getting people to come to grips with the fact that they will have to dramatically cut back on their sugar intake. They know almost unconsciously and instinctively that they do not want to give-up their sugars and starches. They fight it the second I start the conversation about cutting back the carbs…there is a brick wall!! This is a tell-tale sign they are addicted. Try telling someone to cut their carbs down to 50 gms/d when they are addicted, they will walk out on you. Essential fatty acids, MCT’s, eggs, fasting, lots of fresh vegetables, supplementation and resistance exercise are just a few of the modalities I strongly recommend to starting ketogenesis and getting the carb-age out of your system.
I follow: Ron Kosloff, Vince Gironda, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr’s Phinney and Volek, Nora Gedgaudis, Dr. Axe, Uda Erasmus, Linus Pauling, Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz…just to name a few geniuses on the subject.
Derrick Smith NSP