We know this all too well. For couples, the phenomenon is no stranger: you know that period between preparing dinner and actually getting to eat or that trip from your house to the restaurant? Chances are, either you or your partner have had bad moods in the time between.

Because you were hangry. Hungry and angry.

Basically, it’s a result of having low blood sugar. Mix this when the actual hunger you’re experiencing, and suddenly you’re extra annoyed, extra irritable, and extra emotional.

What does low blood sugar have to do with it? Quite a lot – glucose, or sugar, is the brain’s primary fuel. This comes from the food that we eat, and we know that the brain is the most important organ we have, working 24/7. In fact, 30% of the food you consume goes to the brain alone.

So when your brain hasn’t had enough fuel, it encounters a slight hiccup in regulating your emotions – including hunger, irritability, and anger.

But did you ever notice how you rarely feel hungry the moment you wake up? I mean, it seems weird, right? You practically spent the whole night without eating anything.

Scientists say that this is because your willpower dwindles down as the day goes by. So you might notice how you’re so optimistic in the morning and you think you’re going to the gym, then suddenly it’s time to go to work and you’re just not in the mood to meet your trainer anymore.

The rate and the time at which your food is digested can also vary, between two to four hours. During this time, your blood sugar levels start to drop before signaling to your body that you’re hungry and it’s time to eat again.

Chances are, if you’re on a diet, you’re going to limit your meals by skipping dinner or just thinking that you should only eat if you’re really, really hungry, but that’s not at all the best way to go about it!

When your blood sugar levels go too low, your brain basically interprets this to mean that you must be in a life-threatening condition, because really, how else would your body be incapable of feeding itself?

Unlike your other organs, which use fatty acids and amino acids as fuel, the brain utilizes sugar. It’s the quickest to digest, so the effects of its absence (or excess, when you drink too much soda and eat too many sweets) are prominent and put you off balance.

It’s important to note that your diet plays a big part here. There are easy steps to keep your blood sugar balanced and keep you from that hungry and angry feeling.

First, eliminate refined carbs. We mean to stay away from anything made of processed sugar and white flour, like pastries, soda, and ice cream.

You might be thinking, what do you mean they’re bad? They’re so good! The absence of fiber in these foods makes them highly concentrated in sugar that gets digested by your body in no time. This sounds like a good thing if you think that it’s instant fuel for your brain.

But the sugar rush pushes your body to release insulin at the same pace to convert this into energy. This is what causes a spike in your blood sugar levels, followed by a sudden spike.

Up your protein intake as well as healthy fats like avocados, because these are what keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Yes, eating apples is good, but it’s a fast-digesting carbohydrate, so make sure you take it with protein-packed peanut butter or almond butter.

Proteins and healthy fats are perfect to go side by side with the carbs you eat because they’re slower to digest and help your body feel fuller for a longer period of time.

You can replace the refined sugars with unprocessed or low glycemic sweeteners, like pure maple syrup, green leaf stevia, and raw honey. Replace the flour with coconut or almond flour, and lucky for you, you can even buy sweet potato bread now, allowing you to further avoid any sugar spikes.