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Do You Get "Hangry?" Here's The Science Behind Why Some People Get Grumpy When Hungry

July 22, 2015 2 min read

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I went on a little road trip. We were going to see a friend give a concert a few hours out of town. We were excited, we were going to just see where the night took us -- a real girls' night. Only when we arrived at the venue, I was ready to leave her in the car. We had failed to grab dinner before we left, figuring we'd have time before the show. We were wrong. And she was hangry (a blending of 'hungry' and 'angry'). It was a total Jekyll and Hyde scenario. Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever wondered why this happens? Wonder no more! The carbs, proteins and fat in the things you eat get processed into simple sugars, amino acids and free fatty acids, distributed to the blood and passed along to your organs. As the time goes by after your last meal, these nutrients become less prevalent in the blood stream. If your blood glucose levels fall far enough, your brain considers it to be a life threatening situation. Your brain requires glucose to function. hangry1 Another reason people become hangry is the glucose counter-regulatory response. As IFL Science explains, "When blood-glucose levels drop to a certain threshold, your brain sends instructions to several organs in your body to synthesise and release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream." hangry2 The flood of adrenaline you receive during the glucose counter-regulatory response can make it easy to lash out at someone with anger similar to the ways you might during an actual 'fight or flight' scenario. Another reason hangry happens is that hunger and anger are controlled by common genes. 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 behaviours by acting on a variety of receptors in the brain, including one called the Y1 receptor. More than just controlling hunger, neuropeptide Y and the Y1 receptor also regulate anger and aggression. hangry3 Basically, you can see hanger as a survival technique. If an organism just laid back and took it easy when it was hungry, letting everyone else eat first, it would die out. Pretty amazing when you think about it isn't? The easiest way to get out of being hangry is to eat something. It might be tempting to reach for something quick and easy like chips or chocolate but that will only spike your glucose, crash it and start the process all over again. So, grab something nutrient rich that will make you feel satisfied longer. Do you experience hanger? How do you deal with it? h/t: IFL Science Do you follow us on Instagram? [caption id="attachment_99387" align="alignnone" width="100"]snapchat code @BodyRockTV[/caption]        

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