The science of hangry: Can being hungry really make you angry?
Have you ever lashed out at someone when you’ve been hungry? Many of us will have, and the fact that our fuse is shorter than usual is no coincidence.
When we are hungry, our brains are essentially starved of glucose, meaning that our ability to control our emotions is reduced, as is our ability to concentrate. This lack of concentration can affect everything we do, causing silly mistakes that we’d never normally make and potentially making us slur our words. Complying with what’s socially acceptable becomes much harder, which is why you are more likely to snap at someone. Overall, your ability to control your actions is drastically reduced.
There is also a genetic reason linking hunger and anger, as they are both controlled by common genes. Neuropeptide Y is a product of one such gene, and is released into the brain when you’re hungry. As this chemical also regulates anger, high levels caused by hunger tend to also cause people to be angry. It’s important to also think of hanger as a survival mechanism. If a hungry animal was to stand back and let others eat before them, they could die as a result. Getting angry may be their only way of obtaining a meal!
Dealing with HANGER
Although you will be tempted, resist reaching for that bag of crisps or chocolate bar, as they will both make you ‘hangrier’ in the long run. Instead, opt for nutrient-rich, natural foods that are packed full of healthy calories. These foods, such as avocados and nuts, will keep hunger at bay much longer, and should stop you from feeling hangry!
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