Why Do We Get ‘Hangry’?

At one point or another, we have all experienced overwhelming hunger-induced grouchiness. You may have snapped at loved ones, felt mentally foggy and seethed with aggression without really knowing why. Yes, at some point, we have all been unpleasantly hangry—hungry and angry.

The hangries can be scary, especially if your normally docile significant other begins to growl and sneer maliciously at you in bear-like fashion. Generally, the crankiness starts to set in if someone hasn’t eaten any food in 8 hours or so, especially if the body is used to a steady flow of sustenance throughout the day.

Being hangry is actually an excellent evolutionary defense mechanism. Our bodies create feelings of anger and aggression to ensure our success in finding food or hoarding our share. However, now that ready-made food is never far, the hangries are more of an unpleasant nuisance than an evolutionary asset. The first step to overcoming your hanger is to understand it.

Blood sugar and hormones. Ever wonder why you get hangry? When blood glucose in our brain dips severely, self-control is one of the first things to disappear. Annoyed retorts and snarky comments abound as the body goes into low-fuel mode. Our inner aggressive tendencies peek out their ugly heads as our brains urge us to find food. Stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, flood the body along with a brain chemical called neuropeptide Y, which contributes to feelings of aggression. As nice of a person as you may be, your mood becomes a slave to your raging, angry hormones screaming for glucose. Luckily, all of these symptoms subside almost immediately once you eat some food.

Try not to crash. If you suffer from blood sugar crashes often or are forced to go long periods without meals, it’s smart to pack small snacks in your pockets to prevent an outburst of primal aggression on your part. If you try to grab a quick snack—likely a fast, fatty, salty or sugary one—while you’re hangry, it’s likely to lead to another blood sugar spike and sharp crash in a few hours, meaning the cycle of hanger will perpetuate. Eat nutritious, whole foods that don’t spike your blood sugar, and you will likely be more successful in avoiding the unpleasant hangries.

Intermittent fasting. If you are constantly plagued by sharp mood swings when you’re hungry, it may be worth speaking with your trusted health professional about the benefits of intermittent fasting. Practicing intermittent fasting with regularity can promote the balance and stabilization of blood sugar levels. While at first, the hunger that accompanies intermittent fasting can be unpleasant, over time the body adapts to the lifestyle and hunger-induced grumpiness begins to fade away as the body becomes less obsessed with a constant flow of food. Seek the advice of a professional for more information as to whether IF might be right for you.

Whether you prefer to head off the hangries with regular small snacks or intermittent fasting, it’s important to address your blood glucose levels. Not only will your brain function better, but your loved ones will be incredibly relieved. No one likes to live with a hungry, angry bear.

How often do you get ‘hangry’? What are your tips for dealing with it? Share below! 

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86 comments

Edith B
Edith Babout a year ago

I like the new word, hangry!

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Amy Fisher
Amy Fisherabout a year ago

Thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Michelle Brummer
Michelle Brummerabout a year ago

Yep, this happens to me.

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Julia F.
Julia Fabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

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Charmaine M.
Charmaine Mabout a year ago

tyfs Please watch this amazing video that is changing lives and inspiring people! https://youtu.be/dhNvTtE3ie0

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Jan S.
Past Member about a year ago

I confess. I do. So thanks for this.

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Sandra Penna
Sandra Pennaabout a year ago

Noted.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiranabout a year ago

noted

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sandy Gardner
sandy Gardnerabout a year ago

THANKS!

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