I have to eat or I feel bad fast, why?
April 29, 2007 11:46 AM   Subscribe

I get very moody if I don't eat in the morning. If I don't eat until 3-4pm I get headaches, drowsiness and feel nauseous.. I think I've always had this. Since I usually eat enough it doesn't really bother me. I'm 21, male, and a vegetarian. What do I have?
posted by mrunderhill to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Low blood sugar. Eat breakfast!
posted by tristeza at 11:51 AM on April 29, 2007

Eat. That's what breakfast's for. There's lunch too -- that's a good one.

Here's a rundown:

Breakfast. Snack. Elevenses. Lunch. Tea. 4pm!

If you don't eat, it's quite normal to feel like crap.
posted by popcassady at 11:53 AM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

What you have is known as a human body. It requires a regular dosage of solid nutrient in order to function correctly.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:57 AM on April 29, 2007 [27 favorites]

ditto the above. eating three smaller portions a day (or even six) keeps your blood sugar on an even keel.

your body's like a car engine: it doesn't use the whole tank of gas all at once, it uses it a little bit at a time. humans are the same way with food.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2007

I don't think you "have" something. Your body has mechanisms in place to tell you to eat. You're experiencing those symptoms. Your blood sugar is probably low, but it's not as if you would otherwise suffer from low blood sugar. Eat breakfast and lunch.
posted by acoutu at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2007

Low blood sugar. Eat breakfast!

I suffer the same symptons if I don't eat properly. As has been said, my blood sugar plummets and I get tired, testy and not very pleasant to be around.
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on April 29, 2007

I know someone who has never read the side of a children's cereal box! Unfortunately, we all suffer from your condition, which is known as life.
posted by thejoshu at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2007

There's probably more than an ounce of truth in the old axiom "eat, drink and be merry".
posted by furtive at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2007

I think you're just hungry.

Some days I don't eat until dinner. Other days I eat three sizable meals, and then polish off half a box of Cheez-its at midnight so I don't (feel like I'm going to) starve to death. It all works out.
posted by danb at 12:17 PM on April 29, 2007

Again, your condition is quite common, normal in fact. Your brain relies solely on glucose supply and storage (and ketones at times of severe glucose deprivation), thus if you are not eating anything until the late afternoon it is only logical that you are depriving all organs (but especially the brain) of the fuel it needs to function properly. All in all, not recommended. Listen to the signals your body gives you and act accordingly.
posted by Asherah at 12:21 PM on April 29, 2007

Best answer: You have a condition known as hunger.

The good news: it is easily treatable

The bad news: there is no permanant cure

This condition can be treated at a specialized clinic, the one you want is known as a restaurant. This condition can also be treated at home, but you will need specialized supplies from a grocery store. Most sufferers find that several treatments per day are necessary.
posted by yohko at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2007 [36 favorites]

I think you're just hungry too, but since you're a vegetarian (me = vegan), you should also be aware that if you have low consumption of certain (usually animal) foods and don't supplement you could have low levels of B12, or D vitamins.
posted by beerbajay at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers. I feel much better now that I had lunch!
posted by mrunderhill at 12:40 PM on April 29, 2007

Well, unfortunately, you seem to have "hunger." Leaving it untreated for extended periods will result in death. It is easily treatable, with items from your local grocery store, no less!

Anyway, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's been shown eating breakfast actually helps keep your metabolism steady!
posted by Verdandi at 12:41 PM on April 29, 2007

If your problem, like mine, is that you never have enough time to make breakfast (read: I never feel like getting up early enough), so I always keep a stock of fruit and granola bars around. Reasonably healthy, vegetarian for those who care, and requires no preparation. I always have granola bars around regardless, in case an emergency means I don't get to eat any other meal when I'd like.
posted by grouse at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2007

Alas, like you, I suffer terribly from said hunger. I can, however, understand why it could seem like something is wrong. I know a number of people (my mother, fiance, and best friend, among others) who can wake up at 7:00 or 7:30 and not eat until 1:00. It utterly boggles me. I become faint, cranky, and generally a miserable, unproductive lump doing something they do all the time. It does sometimes feel as though there must be something wrong with me when I'm all "So, guys, wanna go grab a snack?" and they look at me like I'm a little defective.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2007

I think this raises a larger point. There is nothing wrong with eating. It's very healthy in fact. If you eat small healthy meals (i.e. fruits, veg, wholegrain, pulses etc.) every three hours you can actually lose weight. Not eating makes you gain weight because you'll have a slower metabolism. Of course to be healthy you should exercise too, but eating is the key to good health.
posted by ob at 1:09 PM on April 29, 2007

If you get something into your stomach in the morning that will digest slowly, your blood sugar level will thank you. Non-instant oatmeal with apple and almonds works for me.
posted by dws at 1:13 PM on April 29, 2007

Along the lines of ob's point, you may also want to cultivate some enjoyment of food. I mean, I know some people who see eating as this annoying task, and they never eat enough or at reasonable intervals, because it is a pain. I love eating to the extent that I look forward to the next time I get peckish (more eating! yay!). Breakfast comprises the greatest foods our culture has invented: egg dishes, cereal dishes, fruit, dessert (french toast, I'm looking at you). Think of all the awesome stuff you can eat every time you wake up.
posted by dame at 1:21 PM on April 29, 2007

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and sup like a pauper.

Eat with chopsticks if large daytime meals make you feel logy. (Chopsticks force you to eat slowly so you're less likely to overeat).
posted by breezeway at 3:54 PM on April 29, 2007

Best answer: Dispensing with the sarcasm for a second, my family and I all get hypoglycemic easily, which means we get cranky, confused, and disoriented when our blood sugar begins to drop. It doesn't mean we're diabetic, just more easily susceptible to the condition. Eat, and eat often. Carry some carbs around with you and you should be fine.
posted by awenner at 4:20 PM on April 29, 2007

Could the OP please let us all know if this was a serious question? Given the obviousness of both the question and its answer, i feel like this might have been lifted from the 'reject' pile of April Fools Day questions.
posted by Kololo at 5:00 PM on April 29, 2007

Response by poster: This is a serious question. Most people I know deal with hunger as if it's nothing. I basically stop functioning when I'm hungry. It's good to see I'm not the only one.
posted by mrunderhill at 5:25 PM on April 29, 2007

It's more than hunger, like you pointed out, many people get hungry and maybe a bit cranky, but not to the headachey, nauseous point you seem to be talking about. awenner has it, hypoglycemia, turns normal hunger into a real pain to deal with. Basically with hypoglycemia you've got to eat much more regularly than other people, and eat less sugary foods, as those don't tend to stick around as long (though sometimes help to bring you back to the point of being able to eat once you get nauseous). Be happy you just get headachey, my hypoglycemia sends me into migraine hell that I can't get out of without several hours of sleep.
posted by JonahBlack at 6:33 PM on April 29, 2007

If you don't eat till three or four, that means you haven't eaten in like fifteen hours!! That's insane. Anyone would feel nightmarish.

Also, if you're vegetarian, you might not be getting enough protein. That's the kiss of death for those with sensitive blood sugar. I think protein has gotten a bad rap because of the whole Atkins thing, but that's silly. You need what you need, and different people need different things.

On that note, it's funny how folks can be so surprised by, or even resistant to, the notion that what they do or don't fuel their bodies with has a direct effect on their physical and emotional well-being. We're not powered by hamster wheels, people. What we eat and when we eat is very important.
posted by granted at 7:33 PM on April 29, 2007

Hmm. I guess I just figured that it would seem logical why someone would feel headachey and crappy after having not eaten for about 20 hours (assuming you ate dinner at 7pm the night before you don't eat till 3pm.)

Then again, my mother only figures out she's hungry when she's ready to faint. So I guess it's just a matter of how in tune you are with your body's hunger signals; a lot of people aren't at all, I suppose.
posted by Kololo at 8:18 PM on April 29, 2007

On the plus side, you'll probably live longer due to your caloric restriction.
posted by dendrite at 12:09 AM on April 30, 2007

Hi, I've suffered from something very similar for a good few years now.. your best bet is to always make sure you have handy snacks available to you when you start to feel like your starting to get hungry... I've learnt that if i dont eat regular meals i lose concentration feel nauseous get cold have mood swings and have even been known to vomit, all because i havent eaten enough. i'd advice you to never get to that point! its not pleasent. So yeah snacks and regular meals!!!! thats all there is to it.
posted by angelmouse3003 at 10:48 AM on April 30, 2007

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