We all know the feeling: Your stomach is grumbling, there’s no snack in sight and you lash out when someone tries to chat. You’re hangry. But is that feeling real?
It’s human nature
Turns out, scientists say feeling hangry is real! It’s actually our body’s way of telling us we need food ASAP. When we go without food, our blood sugar drops. Glucose is food for our brains, so when levels are low, the brain releases stress hormones to help raise blood sugar back up. Unfortunately, these hormones lead to irritability. We can become cranky, aggressive and even hostile.
When your brain is hungry, it makes simple tasks, like communicating with coworkers or remembering your to-do list, much harder. We also have a tougher time controlling our emotions, causing us to snap at our spouses and kids.
Research backs it up
In a 2014 study published in the journal PNAS, researchers confirmed people can feel hangry. The study looked at whether low glucose levels were responsible for greater aggression between spouses. They found that the lower the blood sugar, the more irritable and aggressive the spouses were toward each other.
Researchers have even linked low glucose levels with limited self-control responses. That means that when we’re stressed and hungry, we don’t make the best decisions. Our advice? Save your decision-making and important conversations until after dinner! (Check out these classic comfort foods when you need a hearty and satisfying meal.)
Here’s the solution
Thankfully, there’s an easy cure to feeling hangry: Grab a snack. Try one of these healthy snack recipes when you feel a twinge of hunger. Eating small meals several times a day can help stave off that hangry feeling.
Just be careful with your food choices. When we’re hangry, we usually crave unhealthy foods that quickly boost blood sugar and could lead to binge eating. (Want to stop emotional eating? Try these tips.) This can be a dangerous cycle, so it’s best to have nutrient-dense snacks on hand to combat hunger. See how you can eat more mindfully.
Just remember, the lower your blood sugar levels, the hangrier you are. So if your stomach’s rumblin’ and you’re feeling irritable, grab a snack—pronto. Try these snacks under 100 calories.