Hangry? Science Says You Can Blame Your Body

Mohamed Zeineldine

Ever felt hangry? Well, science says you are perfectly normal.

According to a Conversation article by Amanda Salis, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, as nutrients from that meal you had ages ago begin to dissipate from all the activity you performed all day, warning signals sound throughout your brain, sending your body to panic mode as it perceives this decline in nutrients as "life-threatening" and causing you to feel hangry.

Amanda Salis also cited research on the relationship between levels of glucose and "aggression in married couples," published by the National Institute of Health, to prove the link between hangry behavior and an empty stomach.

There's another reason behind your hangry behavior. When glucose levels in your blood plummet, your brain orders synthesized glucose made of hormones, including two major stress-regulating hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. With adrenaline, which is responsible for "fight or flight" reactions to life-threatening situations, and cortisol pumping into your blood, you have every right to be as hangry as you want.

Do your coworkers still think that's not much of an excuse for being hangry during a long day at work? Blame your genes. Yes, according to Salis, "common genes" control the feelings of hunger and anger, that very recipe that makes you hangry.

"The product of one such gene is neuropeptide Y, a natural brain chemical released into the brain when you are hungry. It stimulates voracious feeding behaviors by acting on a variety of receptors in the brain."

If your colleagues still think you shouldn't be so hangry, one bit of research on interpersonal aggression among students also suggests that you can justifiably blame your country's culture... if it tolerates expressions of verbal aggression in defensive situations, of course.

What does Amanda Salis suggest you do once you start feeling hangry?

"Think nutrient-rich, natural foods that help satisfy hunger for as long as possible, without excess kilojoules," she said.

"A final – and very civilised – way of handling hanger is to suggest that difficult situations be dealt with after food, not before!"