Why do we get "hangry"?

We often get very angry when we get hungry, but why might that be?
12 June 2018

Box of Donuts

Box of Donuts



Why do we get "hangry"?


Chris Smith put this question from Vy to Philipe Bujold, who gave us food for thought...

Philipe - Well Vy, that can be explained with science. Actually, the explanation is quite simple. When you get hungry your glucose level in your blood, goes what your brain would consider dangerously low. It doesn’t take much to reach that level because your brain, like I said earlier, actually used about 20 percent of your energy demand every day. So as soon as it senses lower blood glucose levels, it starts to release the same hormones that you would get when you’re angry, anxious, or stressed. So cortisol and adrenaline get released at the same time and these are surprisingly, or not surprisingly in this case, the same neuropeptides or neural transmitters that are associated with anger.  So there is actually a scientific reason for people becoming hangry, if you want. And fun fact: it’s actually worse for men. Usually the stereotype would be oh people, everybody gets angry but actually men have more of these receptors so, even though they might not show it, it actually affects men more.

Chris - And the cure is an easy remedy? Eat something!

Philipe - Exactly, yes. For sure.

Chris - And are some foods better than other because sugar is very rapidly absorbed isn’t it? So is that the best cure for hunger induced crankiness or are there better things?

Philipe - Well you see, for me I would go with chocolate.

Chris - Eleanor’s laughing.

Philipe - I’m not sure it works for everybody but yes, you want to get that blood sugar level really high, really quickly. You don’t want to crash however, so the solution I found is to just keep eating more chocolate.

Chris - Eating more chocolate.

Philipe - Exactly. And never stop.


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