Why we snap at people when we get “hangry”

By Maria Kyriacou

Image: Thinkstock
Image: Thinkstock
Eat well and on time to avoid hanger turning you into a grump, say researchers

Some of us control an attack of “hangry-ness” better than others. It can render the loveliest amongst us impatient, fuming messes while others morph into absent-minded, blubberers incapable of forming a coherent sentence.

Research from the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, suggests the feeling of growing anger we feel when we are hungry could actually be a crucial element to the survival of our species.

The physiology of hanger involves a fight or flight response. Your blood-glucose levels drop, as you get further away from your last meal. This leads to your terrified brain kicking into gear, believing you’re facing a life-threatening situation.

Everything you eat is digested into fatty and amino acids, and simple sugars, which are transferred into your bloodstream, organs and tissues and used for energy. Without a steady supply, functioning properly can become difficult.

Your patience can become compromised, seeing you snap irrationally at people around you for the smallest of grievances. Your ability to concentrate can also be affected and you may find yourself slurring or muddling your words.

The adrenaline we release when we are suddenly scared can lead us to scream in fear.
A similar reaction is triggered by a glucose counter-regulatory response leading us to behave uncharacteristically, in a socially inappropriate way.

The key to remaining your lovely, calm self and avoiding a transformation into a hangry-monster, is to eat nutrient rich, natural foods that will sustain your feeling of contentedness, keeping hunger pangs at bay.

Although junk food might seem like a quick solution to hunger the increased blood sugars that chips and chocolates emit, means your satisfaction is short-lived, and you’re sure to come crashing down fast, and be hangrier than ever.

What hangry-triggering behaviours have you exhibited when you’ve skipped a meal?


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