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Can being 'hangry' like Chloe Kim help improve athletic performance?

Chloe Kim said she was feeling hangry because she didn't finish her breakfast. It turns out that there may be benefits to working out on an empty stomach!
/ Source: TODAY

Maybe the real breakfast of champions is barely any breakfast at all.

Chloe Kim not only captured the world’s attention Monday when she won the gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe — but also when she shared mid-competition that she was coming down with a bad case of the "hangrys" because she didn’t finish her breakfast sandwich.

“Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry,” the 17-year-old American tweeted.

It turns out that Kim’s decision to not clean her plate may have been a blessing in disguise, with some experts saying it might have helped boost her athletic performance.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian and manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, said there are benefits to working out on an empty stomach. One of them involves being able to tap into your fat stores, instead of glucose, quicker.

“Doing this avoids the rise and subsequent fall of blood sugar, which can ultimately drain energy and make an athlete feeling shaky and searching for a high sugar food to bring them back up,” said Kirkpatrick. And for Kim, whose sport isn’t based on an long distances, “performing a very active and fairly quick task on an empty stomach may not pose any problems. In fact, it's a good thing she didn't have the sandwich right beforehand so that her body could focus only on performance and not digestion during her gold medal run,” Kirkpatrick added.

And Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University (whose research has shown that there’s a link between hunger and anger), added that such intense feelings as a result of being hungry can serve as a motivator.

“I don’t know whether being hangry helped her win a gold medal, but from a social science perspective, anger does motivate people to do something. They want to solve the problem.”

Intentional or not, Kim could be be on to something so we may want to follow suit. Feeling nervous? The snowboarding sensation shared what food helps calm her down.

“Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro,” she tweeted on Sunday. The next day she wrote, “Could be down for some ice cream.”