The Real Reason You Get Angry When You’re Hungry

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We tend to be busy these days, heading to work with the smartphone in one hand and coffee in the other. It’s easy to skip breakfast or miss it altogether. In today’s hustle and bustle, we rationalize missing meals as just part of the new normal, but really it is not healthy or productive. We all know what it feels like to have those afternoon hunger pangs. You start getting a little anxious thinking you can wait it out, but the next thing you know, you’re irritable and snapping at your co-workers. That’s right, you’re “hangry.”


The concept of getting angry when you’re hungry is not a new one, and it is actually a very real condition. Getting hangry is the result of being low on blood sugar, and this is directly tied into how much food we eat (or don’t eat as the case may be). When you deprive yourself of food, the body triggers a response that makes you respond with anger. So did you know that there is a real scientific basis for the response itself? Here’s why you go a little crazy when you haven’t eaten.


What Does Being Hangry Look Like?

Putting it simply, being hangry means you’re being a little cranky. You may be impatient with your partner or short with people in general. The reason behind this is the levels of glucose in your brain, controlled by your blood sugar. That glucose level actually helps you when it comes to impulse control, and when you’re cranky, you’re succumbing to your impulses. In fact, recent studies have shown that individuals with lower blood sugar and poor metabolism rates have higher incidences of violent behavior. So there you have it, if you’re hangry, watch out!

Let’s face it, restraining yourself all day can be tiring and it also uses a lot of energy. This energy is fueled largely by glucose, which is supplied by the food we eat (starting to see the correlation here?). So, when you haven’t eaten or when you deprive yourself of food, you’re depriving yourself of the glucose that you need. It is critical that you have something to eat because if you don’t, you can really lose the ability to control yourself and your impulses.

Of course, the science behind being “hangry” isn’t that simple; there’s a lot more that goes into the process. For one, the body will try to balance out the lack of glucose with other hormones. Interestingly enough, these hormones are closely tied to aggressive behavior. Hormones released when you’re hungry include adrenaline, so the edgy feeling you’re getting could be attributed to that.

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